Gayle King has hit out at executives at CBS for promoting a clip from her interview with Kobe Bryant's friend Lisa Leslie about his sexual assault case.
The NBA legend was killed in a helicopter crash at the age of 41 last month, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others.
News anchor King sat down for an interview with Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) star Leslie to discuss Bryant's legacy, and brought up his sexual assault case, which was dismissed as a criminal complaint but settled as a civil case in 2005.
"It's been said that his legacy is complicated, because of a sexual assault charge that was dismissed in 2003, 2004. Is it complicated for you, as a woman, as a WNBA player?" King asked.
Leslie then replied: "It's not complicated for me at all... I just never see - have ever seen him being the kind of person that would be - do something to violate a woman or be aggressive in that way. That's just not the person that I know."
"But Lisa, you wouldn't see it though. As his friend, you wouldn't see it," King responded.
CBS bosses made a clip from that portion of the wider interview and promoted it online, prompting King to receive backlash on social media. She responded by posting a video in which she addressed the uproar.
"I've been up reading the comments about the interview I did with Lisa Leslie about Kobe Bryant, and I know that if I had only seen the clip that you saw, I'd be extremely angry with me too," she told viewers.
"I am mortified. I am embarrassed and I am very angry. Unbeknownst to me, my network put up a clip from a very wide-ranging interview - totally taken out of context - and when you see it that way, it's very jarring. It's jarring to me. I didn't even know anything about it."
Describing Bryant as "warm and friendly", the broadcaster insisted there will be "a very intense discussion" between her and the network.
However, she also said she pushed the network to keep the segment in the interview, "because I thought it put a nice button in that part of the conversation."
She concluded: "I wanted you to hear exactly where I'm coming from and how I'm feeling, and to let everybody know that no disrespect was intended."
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