CBS News’s Gayle King has received death threats after part of an interview she did with former WNBA player Lisa Leslie was released. In the interview, she asked Leslie about Kobe Bryant’s 2003 arrest for raping a hotel employee in Eagle, Colorado.
Ms. King said the questions were taken out of context–part of a much larger interview, which covered a lot of topics. Context shouldn’t have mattered. The questions are reasonable, part of Kobe Bryant’s past.
Among the people who criticized her were Snoop Dogg, who also called for Bill Cosby’s freedom. Cosby was convicted in 2018 of three counts of aggravated indecent assault and is serving a three-to-ten-year sentence in Pennsylvania state prison.
Bryant was arrested in 2003, but the charges were dropped after the woman involved in the case refused to testify.
In September 2004, Bryant issued the following apology:
First, I want to apologize directly to the young woman involved in this incident. I want to apologize to her for my behavior that night and for the consequences she has suffered in the past year. Although this year has been incredibly difficult for me personally, I can only imagine the pain she has had to endure. I also want to apologize to her parents and family members, and to my family and friends and supporters, and to the citizens of Eagle, Colorado.
I also want to make it clear that I do not question the motives of this young woman. No money has been paid to this woman. She has agreed that this statement will not be used against me in the civil case. Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did. After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney, and even her testimony in person, I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter.
I issue this statement today fully aware that while one part of this case ends today, another remains. I understand that the civil case against me will go forward. That part of this case will be decided by and between the parties directly involved in the incident and will no longer be a financial or emotional drain on the citizens of the state of Colorado.
Much of the discussion about Bryant’s apology since his death has been about how meaningful it was. It acknowledges the attacks on his accuser and what she went through during the attack–which he said she believed was rape–and after.
By all standards, Bryant’s conduct since then has been different. He’s raised four daughters with his wife Vanessa. Gianna, who died with him, was following in his footsteps on the court. In fact, they were on the way to a tournament in which he was going to coach her when the helicoptor crash occurred.
It’s not up to me to say whether Bryant’s behavior has made up for what happened in 2003. That’s for the woman in the case and, to a lesser degree, all women who have been victimized.
If anyone has earned a second chance, it seems to have been Bryant. But when Gayle King asks about this and the response is death threats, including a threatening Instagram post by Snoop Dogg–when the response is to defend Bill Cosby, a convicted sexual predator–any reasonable woman would be angry.
Los Angeles isn’t always friendly to women. Ask the women who testified against Harvey Weinstein.
They aren’t wrong for insisting this part of history isn’t ignored. The death threats against Gayle King prove that.