Ryland Staples | Staff Writer
Photo Credit: Christopher Smith | Associated Press
Gayle King on Feb. 6 interviewed former WNBA star Lisa Leslie about the life and legacy of Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash alongside his daughter and friends a few weeks prior. The interview turned sour when King asked Leslie how she felt about Bryant’s 2003 sexual assault case in Colorado.
This specific question sparked major outrage toward King on social media. Celebrities and regular people alike attacked King for bringing up the sexual assault case. Most notably, Snoop Dogg made a lengthy post on Instagram condemning the journalist’s actions, claiming that both she and longtime friend Oprah Winfrey were trying to tear down iconic black men such as Michael Jackson, whose accuser had been interviewed by Winfrey last year.
Snoop Dogg and others also accused King and Winfrey of attacking black men while remaining loyal to famous white men who were accused of abuse, such as Harvey Weinstein.
At the end of the post, Snoop Dogg made sure to include “Free Bill Cosby.”
R&B singer Ari Lennox went on a rant on her Instagram live, blaming King and Winfrey for “tearing down the legacies of beautiful black men.”
There is a lot to unpack in this situation. First of all, I assure you that neither King nor Winfrey is out here unapologetically riding for Weinstein, on trial this week for multiple counts of sexual assault. People are just trying to blow things out of proportion because they see pictures of Winfrey and King with Weinstein.
Snoop Dogg was out of line for calling out King for bringing up a part of history that may not have put Bryant in the best light. I do understand that bringing up that event so soon after the superstar’s death may have been inappropriate. However, calling her all sorts of expletives, bringing Winfrey into the discourse, saying that they’re trying to bring down black men and accusing them of defending an alleged rapist is absurd.
The funny thing is, Snoop Dogg thought it was a good idea to throw in “free Bill Cosby” after one of his Instagram rants. Bill Cosby is a convicted felon and registered sex offender, currently serving time in prison. Putting your neck out for a convicted felon isn’t really the smartest defense. People can believe all they want that there is some secret organization of famous people that are trying to prevent successful black men from their potential ventures, but that still doesn’t change the fact that this man spent decades terrorizing and taking advantage of women.
I understand that some think it was too early to talk about Bryant’s sexual assault charge, but you shouldn’t villainize journalists for bringing up a very important part of his life – for doing their jobs.
You also shouldn’t act like nothing happened in Colorado. Bryant apologized for his actions and settled a civil suit. Women already have to go through so much just to have trauma acknowledged. People shouldn’t belittle that experience even more by acting as though certain events didn’t take place.