An emotional Oprah Winfrey said her friend Gayle King “is not doing well” amid the backlash she has received over her recent interview with former WNBA star Lisa Leslie following the death of Kobe Bryant, in which she asked Leslie about Bryant’s 2003 rape case.
“She is not doing well,” Winfrey told Today‘s Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager Friday, tearing up as she spoke. “She has now death threats and has to now travel with security and she’s feeling very much attacked.”
Winfrey was asked how her friend was doing after King said she was “mortified” and “very angry” at CBS for posting a “salacious” and “out of context” clip of her CBS This Morning interview with Leslie. In the clip, King asks Leslie about the legacy of Bryant, who died along with eight others in a helicopter crash on January 26, given his sexual assault case in Colorado.
Gayle King Rips CBS For Excerpting Her Lisa Leslie Interview About Kobe Bryant; Network Responds - Update
Winfrey said King, “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,” Winfrey continued. “Obviously all things pass, she will be okay, but she hasn’t slept in two days.”
Winfrey noted that the danger is exacerbated when “the misogynist vitriol and the attacking” reaches the point “where it is dangerous to be in the streets alone.”
“It’s not just the people who are attacking. It’s the other people who take that message and feel like they can do whatever they want to because of it,” she said.
You can watch Winfrey’s interview on Today and King’s previous statements below.
Here’s the segment of the interview that CBS This Morning has on its YouTube channel:
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.