Oprah Winfrey is concerned about her best friend, Gayle King, after revealing she has received death threats for quizzing basketball star Lisa Leslie about her friend Kobe Bryant's 2003 sex scandal.
King hit the headlines earlier this week (beg03Feb20) when her TV chat with the Women's National Basketball Association icon was leaked. The promo trailer focused on a question about the late Bryant‘s rape trial almost 20 years ago, and led to many fans taking aim at the anchor for being so tactless so soon after Kobe's death.
And during an appearance on Hoda & Jenna & Friends on Friday (07Feb20), Oprah revealed the hatred her friend has received has reached shocking levels.
"She is not doing well," she said, tearing up. "She has now death treats and has to now travel with security and she’s feeling very much attacked. You know, Bill Cosby is tweeting from jail.
"She feels that she was put in a really terrible position."
"In the context of the interview, everyone seemed fine, including Lisa Leslie. And 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 that Gayle was just trying to press to get an answer from Lisa Leslie... obviously all things pass, she will be OK, but she hasn’t slept in two days."
"It's not just the people who are attacking (her)," Oprah added. "It’s the other people who take that message and feel like they can do whatever they want to because of it, you know? I was on the phone with her this morning, I was on the phone with her last night, I was on the phone with her the night before. I think you stand in the gap, you try to be there for your friends. But this is very hard, because when you have social media and the force of social media, and particularly people who didn’t see either interview, making attacks."
CBS bosses have since apologised for the promo clip, and King has defended her line of questioning, stating, "I know that if I had only seen the clip that you saw, I’d be extremely angry with me too. 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.
"We talked about that court case because that court case has also come up. And, I wanted to get Lisa’s take on it as a friend who knew him well, what she thought, where that should stand. It was very powerful when she looked me in the eye, as a member of the media, to say, 'It’s time for the media to leave it alone and to back off'.
"I felt really good about the interview... so, for the network to take the most salacious part when taken out of context, and put it up online for people who didn’t see the whole interview, is very upsetting to me and that’s something I’m going to have to deal with them. There will be a very intense discussion about that."
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