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‘You Can’t Speak to Me the Way I Was Spoken to and Threatened’: Gayle King Opens Up to Oprah Winfrey Amid Kobe Bryant Interview Backlash

Oprah Winfrey sat down with her best friend, Gayle King, on her “2020: Your Life in Focus Tour” to discuss how she handled the backlash she received after her infamous interview with Lisa Leslie. The “CBS This Morning” talk show host drilled Leslie with questions pertaining to Kobe Bryant‘s rape accusations.

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New York, NY – March 6: (L-R): Gayle King, Oprah Winfrey and Diane Sawyer attend the 2018 MoMA David Rockefeller Award Luncheon honoring Oprah at The Ziegfeld Ballroom on March 6, 2018, in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)

King told Winfrey she put on her big girl pants and moved on from the incident. She said, “I think we can disagree politically, we can disagree socially, if you want to, but I just think humanity should prevail always. I think we still have to figure out a way to navigate that with each other. That we can disagree, and you can be mad at me even, but you can’t speak to me the way I was spoken to and threatened.”

Lisa Leslie standing next to the late NBA legend Kobe Bryant @lisalesie/Instagram

The interview controversy began after King asked Leslie if Bryant’s legacy was complicated for her as a woman. The WNBA player told King that Bryant’s legacy was not complicated to her at all. Leslie told viewers that she never saw Bryant as the type of person to violate a woman or be aggressive in that way.

King shocked viewers when she told Leslie she would not see Bryant act that way toward women because they were friends. People felt like King’s interview was insensitive due to the fact that Bryant, alongside his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Bryant, was killed in a helicopter crash and the interview aired a week later. Fans appeared to be in rage at King for seemingly telling the world her personal opinions surrounding Bryant’s sexual assault case.

Kobe Bryant (R), his daughter Gianna Bryant (L) and seven others were honored in a memorial at the Staples Center on Feb. 24, 2020. (Photo: Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images)

Bryant pleaded not guilty to felony sexual assault charges in 2003 after a 19-year old Denver woman accused him of sexually assaulting her. Criminal charges against Bryant were dropped. However, a civil suit was settled out of court.

Rapper Snoop Dogg hit back at King after the interview by calling her a “funky, dog-headed b—h.” King told Winfrey the comments were painful, however, her overall experience has been a learning curve for her.

Snoop Dogg (L) discussed the comments he made to Gayle King (R) during a recent interview on “Red Table Talk.” (Photo: Scott Legato/Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images/John Lamparski/Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images)

Winfrey chimed in during the conversation and implied that her interview received a lot of heat because good people did not speak up in her defense.

The full interview between Winfrey and King will premiere on March 11 at 8 p.m. EST on Oprah’s Facebook Channel.

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