Oprah Winfrey was brought to tears when she was asked how her best friend, Gayle King is handling the backlash she received after asking Lisa Leslie about the late Kobe Bryant‘s sexual assault case in 2003, mentioning that King had received death threats.
“She is not doing well. May I say, she is not doing well because, she now has death threats and have to now travel with security. She’s feeling very much attacked,” Winfrey told NBC’s Today With Hoda And Jenna on Friday.
Earlier this week, CBS promoted the interview between King and Leslie with a video that focused solely on Bryant’s sexual assault case which was met with criticism and vitriol from Bryant’s fans and friends. On Thursday, King slammed CBS for promoting the interview without “proper context”.
Winfrey says King hasn’t “slept in two days” but will be “OK,” adding that she was put in a “really terrible position.”
“It was only because somebody at the network put up that clip, and I can see how people would obviously be very upset if you thought Gayle was trying to press to get an answer from Lisa Leslie,” she said.
She added, “I think the vitriol … anybody can criticize anything, but the misogynist vitriol and the attacking to the point where it is dangerous to be in the streets alone because it’s not just the people who are attacking. It’s the people who take that message and feel like they can do whatever they want to because of it.”
Following her interview, King was called out prominently by Snoop Dogg, Ari Lennox and shockingly, Bill Cosby who a handler tweeted for the jailed comedian that both Winfrey and King were contributing to acts that would “tarnish the image and legacy of successful Black Men even in death.”
King did not appear on “CBS This Morning” on Friday. CBS released a statement on Thursday saying, “Gayle conducted a thoughtful, wide-ranging interview with Lisa Leslie about the legacy of Kobe Bryant. An excerpt was posted that did not reflect the nature and tone of the full interview. We are addressing the internal process that led to this and changes have already been made.”