Snoop Dogg was one of several vocal critics of CBS reporter Gayle King for her interview with Lisa Leslie after Kobe Bryant’s death.
On Wednesday he apologized to King over his reaction.
King’s interview of Leslie
As part of a broad interview in the weeks following Bryant’s Jan. 26 death in a helicopter crash, King asked Leslie — a basketball great and friend of Bryant’s — about the late Los Angeles Lakers legend’s rape case in Colorado early in his career. Bryant was arrested on a felony sexual assault charge in 2003 that was eventually dropped when his accuser declined to testify.
Leslie responded to King’s question about whether the incident complicated her view of Bryant (3:42, above) by saying that she had “never seen him be the kind of person that would do something to violate a woman or be aggressive in that way.”
When pressed by King if the question was an appropriate one, Leslie responded that “the media should be more respectful.”
"It's like, if you had questions about it, you've had many years to ask him that,” Leslie said. “I don't think it's something that we should keep hanging over his legacy.”
Backlash over question
The interview drew anger from many of Bryant’s fans and some in the black community who viewed King’s broach of the subject as a betrayal.
Snoop’s criticism via a since-deleted Instagram video last week included calling King a “funky dog-head bitch” before signing off by threatening to “come get you.”
For that, he apologized on Wednesday.
“Two wrongs don’t make no right,” Snoop said in another Instagram video on Wednesday. “When you’re wrong, you gotta fix it. So with that being said: Gayle King, I publicly tore you down by coming at you in a derogatory manner based off of emotions. ...
“Should have handled it way different than that. I was raised way better than that. So I would like to apologize to you publicly for the language that I used and calling you out of your name and just being disrespectful.”
Other critics of King
Snoop wasn’t the only celebrity last week to take on King for the interview.
LeBron James chimed in on Twitter.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) February 6, 2020
So did 50 Cent.
👀what is this, wait somebody gotta help me understand why they keep doing this. 🤷🏽♂️i apologize for my language in advance let’s talk about this. pic.twitter.com/zpKu58SQwc
— 50cent (@50cent) February 5, 2020
There were many other critics.
The ordeal prompted King’s friend Oprah Winfrey to come to her defense after she claimed that King was “not doing well” in part because of death threats over the interview.
King has not responded to Snoop’s apology as of the time of this post.
Why the backlash to begin with?
The incident raised questions about how the darker sides of public figures’ pasts should be handled in the wake of their deaths, with the tragedy of Bryant’s alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna’s intensifying the rhetoric.
With Bryant being a deified figure among his most ardent fans, some argued that case shouldn’t be brought up at all. Others argued that there’s a time to talk about the case, but not in the emotional days and weeks after his sudden death.
Others argued that Bryant’s past is what it is, and the record should reflect all the realties, good and bad. To ignore the sexual assault charge would amount to a dereliction of journalistic duty.
With emotions raw in the aftermath of Bryant’s death, a disconnected society that views these conversations primarily through the lens of social media and anger at traditional media the norm, the backlash against King is symbolic of greater issues during turbulent times.
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