Rapper Snoop Dogg is getting both praise and criticism for an expletive-filled Instagram video in which he appeared to threaten journalist Gayle King and accused her of trying to tarnish Kobe Bryant’s reputation after she asked WNBA star Lisa Leslie about Bryant’s sexual assault case.
In a clip that “CBS This Morning” posted on Twitter earlier this week, show co-host King asks Leslie if she thinks Bryant’s legacy is “complicated” over his 2003 rape charge, which was ultimately dropped after the accuser declined to testify.
The question led to intense backlash on social media as it came in the wake of the death of Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others in a Jan. 26 helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.
Among the celebrities to lash out at King was Snoop Dogg. In a video posted Wednesday, the rapper said King was “out of pocket” for bringing up the sexual assault allegation and accused her of attacking members of her own community.
“What do you gain from that? I swear to god, we the worst. We the f—— worst. We expect more from you, Gayle,” Snoop Dogg said in the video. “Why y’all attacking us? We your people! You ain’t come after f—— Harvey Weinstein, asking them dumb-a– questions. I get sick of y’all.”
The rapper went on to call King a “funky dog-head b—-” and urged her to “back off, b—-, before we come get you.”
The video has been viewed more than 2 million times with many of the comments appearing to support Snoop Dogg. Former NBA star Matt Barnes and ex-football player Reggie Bush both commented with a raised fist emoji, a symbol for solidarity and support.
Model Naomi Campbell wrote, “Thank you @snoopdogg.”
Others, such as Susan Rice who served as President Obama’s national security adviser, called Snoop Dogg’s video “despicable.”
“Gayle King is one of the most principled, fair and tough journalists alive,” Rice tweeted Friday. “Snoop, back the **** off. You come for @GayleKing, you come against an army. You will lose, and it won’t be pretty.”
Journalist Yashar Ali said in a tweet that the rapper’s video was “disgusting.” He added: “Seeing very few people defending Gayle…I know that if she were a white anchor she would have much more support.”
Snoop Dogg in an interview Friday on the radio program, “The Rickey Smiley Morning Show,” explained his criticism of King, saying it’s important to help Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, and their children keep his legacy in a “righteous manner” so the family can heal.
The rapper also said he felt it was inappropriate for King to ask Bryant’s close friend, Leslie, about the rape case.
Bryant was accused of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old hotel worker in Colorado in 2003. The basketball star, who married his wife in 2001, admitted to having sex with the woman but said it was consensual. The case was dropped and a civil suit was later settled.
“That was 2003, some of his kids wasn’t even born. So, when you bringing that up you bringing up information to them that they don’t need to know nothing about,” he said. “I’m thinking about them at the same time. They don’t need to hear that mess. He was not found guilty.”
Snoop Dogg said he has no plans to back down on his verbal attack against King.
“I’m going to keep riding on her until I see her face to face to let her know she was out of pocket,” he said.
King responded to the criticism in two videos she posted to her Twitter account on Thursday, blaming CBS for posting only a small excerpt of her interview with Leslie without providing the full context.
She said during the conversation that the two also talked about Bryant’s career, the athlete’s sense of humor and how he liked to serve as a mentor.
“I know that if I had only seen the clip that you saw, I would be extremely angry with me too. I am mortified. I’m embarrassed and I am very angry,” she said. “Unbeknownst to me, my network put up a clip from a very wide-ranging interview, totally taken out of context and when you see it that way, it’s very jarring.”
King’s close friend, Oprah Winfrey, said Friday that King was getting death threats over the interview question.
A CBS spokesperson said in a statement earlier this week that the excerpt the network posted “did not reflect the nature and tone” of King’s “thoughtful, wide-ranging interview.