Teary Oprah on Gayle King's Kobe Fiasco: 'She Is Not Doing Well

Winfrey cites 'hate,' 'meanness,' and 'misogynistic vitriol' King has been subjected to during backlash
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 8, 2020 6:00 AM CST

CBS News says Gayle King's absence on Friday from CBS This Morning was a preplanned one due to a "long-standing commitment out of town," but others believe it may have something to do with the backlash the show's co-host received over a question she asked about Kobe Bryant. The hubbub began when CBS showed a promo of King's interview with WNBA legend Lisa Leslie, in which King can be heard asking Leslie about the 2003 rape allegation against the late Lakers star. Fans were outraged—even though King later said she was also upset that CBS chose to pull that question out, "totally taken out of context," to include in the promo—and now her BFF has offered an update on how King is doing.

"She is not doing well," an emotional Oprah Winfrey said on the Today show Friday. "She ... feels that she was put in a really terrible position. ... She has now death threats and has to now travel with security. She is feeling very much attacked. Bill Cosby is ... tweeting from jail." Winfrey added she wasn't trying to stop anyone from voicing an opinion, but that the "hate" and "meanness" was out of line. She slams "the misogynist vitriol and the attacking to the point where it is dangerous to be in the streets alone, because 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." In the meantime, Oprah has been on the phone with her friend, offering support: "You stand in the gap. You try to be there for your friends." (Read more Gayle King stories.)

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