On Gayle King and Kobe Bryant

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There has been a significant amount of chatter on social media regarding the clip of Gayle King’s interview with former WNBA player Lisa Leslie. The buzz is around Gayle questioning Lisa about Kobe’s legacy in light of his past sexual assault scandal. Lisa, as friends tend to do, defended him fiercely. She said that was not the Kobe she knew and further called out journalists (including Gayle) for asking questions now that they could have asked him prior to his death.

Many celebrities, mostly male, have taken to social media to publicly disparage Gayle, including Snoop, who crossed the line from call out to threat. To be fair, I understand the collective outrage. Gayle’s BFF, Oprah, has a history of refusing to call out her White accused rapist friends, while doing interviews and documentaries on Black men who have been accused. I think it is fair to say that a large portion of the Black community sees Oprah as an armor-bearer of White supremacy in general. Although I am part of that large portion of people, I don’t feel that as a collective we are ready to have that conversation, especially not the “respectable” among us. See respectability politics definition.

Nonetheless, my personal issue is not with the call out but with the vitriol in which it is happening. I posted a reminder on social media yesterday (which was not well received by men in particular) about how we can call out Oprah and Gayle without going below the below, including making disparaging remarks about their looks. It became pretty exhausting going back and forth on that thread but since the conversation continues today, I decided to summarize my thoughts on the situation. Here they are:

1. Gayle was not wrong for asking Lisa Leslie about the sexual assault from a professional standpoint. She is a journalist who did what a journalist does. She was wrong from an INTEGRITY standpoint. Sometimes you have to make difficult decisions, even at work, when what you are asked to do conflicts with your personal values and Gayle should have said no.

2. Kobe ADMITTED that the encounter in question was not consensual. Stop acting like he was 100% innocent. It may be in poor taste to keep bringing it up, but IT HAPPENED. That’s why women wait YEARS to speak up about assault. If you continue to say it didn’t happen even though Kobe admitted it, I’m going to assume that you’re a rapist.

3. Y’all ain’t loyal. I don’t do cookout invitations or trades. Family should be able to call out family and eventually welcome them back into the fold when a sincere change in behavior has occurred. Leave Ellen where she is. 🗣🗣🗣

4. I want to see the men who are riding so hard for Kobe ride equally as hard for Black women because as a collective, it doesn’t happen.

5. Women are not exempt from being misogynists in the same way that Black people can perpetuate White supremacy.

6. Your Gayle and Oprah slander (dog face, etc.) is just as anti-Black as their refusal to call out their White rapist friends. The truth is, Gayle is low-hanging fruit. Oprah has been doing this for YEARS.

7. Lastly, Snoop was wrong for threatening her and I hope she files charges.

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