King did not mention the situation on-air after a long weekend in which her supporters and detractors — including Snoop Dogg — used social media to air often-heated opinions on the situation.
King was absent from “CBS This Morning” on Friday after blaming her own network for the fallout over a Thursday interview with WNBA icon Lisa Leslie, who was close friends with Bryant. She asked Leslie about the 2003 accusation made against Bryant, which CBS then clipped to promote the interview on social media.
Rapper Snoop Dogg then appeared to threaten King over the question in a vulgar viral video, and King received widespread criticism on social media from everyone from imprisoned comedian Bill Cosby to a legion of Bryant fans.
Gayle King didn’t mention backlash to her interview about Kobe Bryant in her return to “CBS This Morning.”
Monday’s edition of CBS morning show began with a recap of Sunday’s Academy Awards and King and her co-anchors read the news without addressing the elephant in the room. At one point on the show, King asked NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who was a guest, about Bryant, but didn’t mention her interview with Leslie.
While some were furious with King, the story also resulted in a #StandWithGayle social media campaign as many fans and media members took her side and condemned Snoop Dogg for his rhetoric. Former national security adviser Susan Rice even told Snoop Dogg to “back the **** off” from King.
MSNBC’s Willie Geist tweeted that “the threats against Gayle King for asking a fair question in the course of a long interview are absolutely disgusting. Gayle is one of the most thoughtful people in our business,” while Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., also stood up for King.
Gayle King was criticized by rapper Snoop Dogg, who posted a profanity-filled video attacking the anchor.
“For those threatening her and inciting violence, stop it immediately,” he tweeted. “This is unacceptable. We must do better.”
Oprah Winfrey said that King received death threats and was “not doing well” as a result, while CBS News President Susan Zirinsky condemned the threats in a statement to the Associated Press.
“We fully support Gayle King and her integrity as a journalist,” Zirinsky said. “We find the threats against her or any journalist doing their job reprehensible.”
Zirinsky’s support of King came after the “CBS This Morning” co-anchor blamed CBS News for distributing an “out-of-context” clip to promote the interview.
“I know that if I had only seen the clip that you saw, I’d be extremely angry with me too,” King said on an Instagram video. “I am mortified. I am embarrassed and I am very angry.”
The CBS News anchor said she was advised to ignore the criticism about the interview but didn’t oblige.
“We fully support Gayle King and her integrity as a journalist. We find the threats against her or any journalist doing their job reprehensible.”
— CBS News President Susan Zirinsky
“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. I started getting calls… I didn’t know what people were talking about,” King said.
“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, with them,” King said. ‘There will be a very intense discussion about that.”
CBS said last week that changes to its internal process have already been made as a result of the hostile response King received.
“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,” CBS told Fox News.
Meanwhile, Snoop Dogg later attempted to clarify and said he didn’t want any harm to come to King and he wasn’t threatening her. He said he just wants her to “have a little more respect for Vanessa, her babies and Kobe Bryant’s legacy.”
Fox News’ Brie Stimson contributed to this report.