[ad_1] CBS This Morning anchor Gayle King is coming under fire after she asked WNBA legend Lisa Leslie about her friend Kobe Bryant and his 2003 rape allegation that has since resurfaced in the wake of his death. King asked the former Los Angeles Sparks player Leslie, 47, if his legacy was complicated by the fact […]
CBS This Morning anchor Gayle King is coming under fire after she asked WNBA legend Lisa Leslie about her friend Kobe Bryant and his 2003 rape allegation that has since resurfaced in the wake of his death.
King asked the former Los Angeles Sparks player Leslie, 47, if his legacy was complicated by the fact a rape allegation existed.
‘It’s been said that his legacy is complicated because of a sexual assault charge,’ King asked. ‘Is it complicated for you as a woman, as a WNBA player?’
WNBA legend Lisa Leslie, pictured, has defended her friend Kobe Bryant in the wake of his death, saying his legacy is not complicated despite the rape allegation against him
Los Angeles Sparks Lisa Leslie kisses the WNBA championship trophy in her right hand while holding her MVP award in her left after the Sparks beat New York Liberty during the final WNBA playoff game in August 2002
Leslie, who had known Kobe since he was 18 years old defended Bryant telling CBS: ‘That’s just not the person that I know.’
Leslie told King: ‘It’s not complicated for me at all. Even if there’s a few times that we’ve been at a club at the same time, Kobe’s not the kind of guy, never been, like, ‘Lis, go get that girl, or tell her, or send her this’.
‘I have other NBA friends that are like that. Kobe, he was never like that.’
But King probed further with her follow-up comments.
‘But Lisa, you wouldn’t see it, though,’ she said. ‘As his friend, you wouldn’t see it.’
‘And that’s possible,’ replied Leslie. ‘I just don’t believe that.’
Former Los Angeles Sparks player Leslie, right, had known Kobe, center, since he was 18
King asked if it was ‘even a fair question to talk about’ the accusation, ‘considering he’s no longer with us and that it was resolved,’ or if it is ‘really part of his history.’
Leslie said the media ‘should be more respectful at this time.’
‘If you had questions about it, you’ve had many years to ask him that,’ she continued. ‘I don’t think it’s something that we should keep hanging over his legacy.’
Among those who tweeted criticism of King’s line of questioning was rapper 50 Cent.
‘what is this, wait somebody gotta help me understand why they keep doing this,’ he wrote. ‘i apologize for my language in advance let’s talk about this.’
The rapper posted a video clip in which he said: ‘That’s not complicated. You just said it was dismissed… Then how would you see it, Gayle? How the f*** would you see it, f***?’
Among those who tweeted criticism of King’s line of questioning was rapper 50 Cent
Twitter user @thehoracetowns simply stated that journalists ‘lack class.’
‘Gayle King and Oprah seem to go after certain stories without class, but ignore the stories involving their Hollywood friends,’ he wrote. ‘You bring up something about Kobe right after his death for ratings or relevance? Kobe Bryant has passed away’
Another twitter user was furious that the allegations had been brought up in the wake of Bryant’s death.
‘Harvey Weinstein is still alive but Gayle rather ask old rape allegation questions about a man who just died last week?’ wrote @Cookiebaby23.
User @CokeDir wrote: ‘King had MANY years to ask Kobe Bryant about the whole sexual assault case.’
Another twitter user was furious that the allegations had been brought up in the wake of Bryant’s death
Twitter user @thehoracetowns simply stated that journalists ‘lack class.’
‘Too soon for that s***,’ he continued. ‘Let the legend Rest In Peace. Smh.’
In a statement to USA Today, King responded to criticism surrounding her discussion with Leslie.
‘I understand why people are upset seeing that clip out of context,’ she said. ‘I hope they will now watch the entire wide-ranging interview. We asked a longtime friend of Kobe Bryant’s to talk to us about his legacy and their friendship and Lisa Leslie did exactly that.’
The backlash was fast and furious in response to Gayle King’s interview with Lisa Leslie
Leslie told Gayle King: ‘It’s not complicated for me at all. Even if there’s a few times that we’ve been at a club at the same time, Kobe’s not the kind of guy, never been, like, ‘Lis, go get that girl, or tell her, or send her this’. Kobe, he was never like that’
In 2003, an 19-year-old woman accused Bryant, pictured with Leslie, of sexually assaulting her
Lisa Leslie of the Los Angeles Sparks, pictured in 2009
The criminal case against Bryant was dropped in September 2004, after the accuser declined to testify.
The previous month, the woman filed a civil lawsuit, which was settled out of court on March 2, 2005, the details of which have never been made public.
Bryant reportedly asked the young woman, a concierge at the hotel Bryant was staying, for a private tour. After the tour, Bryant invited the woman to his room where they began kissing.
Bryant asserted that they had consensual sex, but the woman said it was rape.
The woman later reported the alleged rape, with authorities finding bruises on her neck and tears to her vaginal wall.
Flanked by lawyers and his wife, Vanessa Bryant, he admitted to committing adultery, but maintained his innocence at the allegations at a press conference. He later entered a not guilty plea.
The criminal case never went to trial as the woman refused to testify in court, but Bryant later settled with the woman in civil court.
After the criminal case’s dismissal, Bryant issued a public apology to the woman.
‘First, I want to apologize directly to the young woman involved in this incident. I want to apologize to her for my behavior that night and for the consequences she has suffered in the past year. Although this year has been incredibly difficult for me personally, I can only imagine the pain she has had to endure,’ he said.
‘Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did. After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney, and even her testimony in person, I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter.
‘I issue this statement today fully aware that while one part of this ends today, another remains. I understand that the civil case against me will go forward. That part of this case will be decided by and between the parties directly involved in the incident and will no longer be a financial or emotional drain on the citizens of the state of Colorado.’
Bryant, 41, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, both pictured, and seven others died in a helicopter crash around 10am on January 26
The nine victims also included: John Altobelli, a baseball coach at Orange Coast College, his wife Keri and their daughter Alyssa; basketball coach Christina Mauser; Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton; and the pilot Ara Zobayan
Bryant, 41, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others died in a helicopter crash around 10am on January 26. The nine victims also included: John Altobelli, a baseball coach at Orange Coast College, his wife Keri and their daughter Alyssa; basketball coach Christina Mauser; Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton; and the pilot Ara Zobayan.
The group was heading towards the Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks from John Wayne Airport near Bryant’s home in Newport Beach. The flight took off shortly after 9am and around 9.20am, Zobayan circled above Burbank Airport for 15 minutes.
Disney heiress Abigail Disney shared 24 tweets following his death where she doubled down on her stance about the Los Angeles Lakers all-star’s past, but admitted she still ‘mourned’ him. She first addressed Bryant’s rape allegations in a tweet four days after he died, writing: ‘The man was a rapist. Deal with it.’
Others who have highlighted Bryant’s rape allegations have received overwhelming backlash.
Actress Evan Rachel Woods received intense condemnation after sharing a tweet about Bryant on the day he died. ‘I am heartbroken for Kobe’s family. He was a sports hero. He was also a rapist. And all of these truths can exist simultaneously,’ she said.
A Washington Post reporter was also suspended from her job for tweeting a link to a past article that examined Bryant’s case.