During her appearance on The Late Show Thursday night, the CBS This Morning host talked to Stephen Colbert about the awkward incident, in which Watters was attempting to praise King's recent interview with R. Kelly, who is facing 10 counts of sexual abuse charges.
During an episode of the Fox News talk show The Five, Watters said, "Hats off to Gayle King for totally redeeming herself after the [Jussie] Smollett fiasco." However, it was Roberts who interviewed Smollett on GMA last month about his alleged attack — not King.
Jesse Watters: "Hats off to @GayleKing for totally redeeming herself after the [Jussie] Smollett fiasco.."
Dana Perino: "That was not Gayle King...Robin Roberts did the Smollett interview." pic.twitter.com/8nRcLhVybA— Yashar Ali ? (@yashar) March 6, 2019
After an awkward beat, Watters' co-host, Dana Perino, corrected him, quickly adding, "That was not Gayle King. Robin Roberts did the Smollett interview."
"I couldn't believe it," King told Colbert, laughing. "So many people started sending this to me, because I normally don't watch Fox News, unless I'm just curious to see what's going on and what other people are thinking."
King, 64, said she emailed Perino, 46, to thank her for correcting her colleague.
"So I emailed Dana, who I don't know, I got her email and I said, 'Hi, I just wanted to thank you for letting your colleague know that Robin Roberts and I — it was a great compliment, but thank you for letting him know that we're two different people,'" King recalled to Colbert. "'And could you let the rest of your colleagues know that all black people do not look alike.'"
The crowd laughed and cheered, while Colbert joked, "It's good to remind them every so often."
King then explained that Perino wrote back and said it was nice to meet her. King even said that they "had a little joke about it."
Watters quickly apologized after being corrected on the air, and then later at the end of the show held up a small dry erase white board that read, "I'm sorry Gayle + Robin."
King has received accolades from journalists, family, friends and celebrities across the board on her powerful interview with Kelly. She revealed to Colbert that she even got a personal phone call from Elton John just before going onstage at The Late Show.
"In the green room, Elton John called me!" King exclaimed. "It was a 212 number that I didn't recognize, so I thought it was work… and he goes, 'Gayle, it's Elton here.' And I go, 'Elton John?! Hi, Elton!' And he was calling to talk about the R. Kelly interview. I thought that it was so nice that he called."
Throughout the explosive interview, during which Kelly stood up and yelled that he was innocent, King remained calm. She told O: The Oprah Magazine that she was not scared, despite the intense situation.
"I was not scared. I never thought he was going to hit me," she said. "After, Oprah and my kids Kirby and Will called me to ask if I was okay because it looked scary. But I was never worried he was going to hurt me. I was more worried that he was going to get up and leave."
King continued, "So what I was really thinking to myself was: I'm not done with this interview, so I'm going to let him have his moment. If I stood up even to comfort him, that could have been his invitation to say 'This is over.' So I didn't interrupt his anger and let him have that."
Even though Kelly stood over King, screaming and crying, she said she "just knew" she was never in danger.
"I did worry at some points that he might accidentally hit me, because he was so angry that he was flailing," King explained. "But I knew that I wasn't in any real danger. I just kept thinking 'Okay, Robert, go ahead' and that's what I said."
The interview was Kelly's first since Chicago prosecutors charged him with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse. He pleaded not guilty to the charges, which stem from alleged abuse that took place over 12 years. Prosecutors say they have evidence of Kelly allegedly engaged in sex acts with underage girls, including a video allegedly showing him with a 14-year-old girl.
Kelly insisted to King that he was innocent, saying he was being "buried alive" and "assassinated."
"I have been assassinated. I have been buried alive. But I'm alive," Kelly said as King asked him if he ever held women against their will.
"How stupid would it be for me, with my crazy past and what I've been through – oh right, now I just think I have to be monster, and hold girls against their will, chain them up in my basement, and don't let them eat, don't let them out, unless they need some shoes down the street from their uncle!"
He stood up from his chair, yelling, "Stop it. You all quit playing! Quit playing! I didn't do this stuff! This is not me! I'm fighting for my f—ing life! Y'all killing me with this s—! I gave you 30 years of my f—ing career!"0comments
CBS will air the interview as a one-hour primetime special on Friday at 8 p.m. ET.
Photo credit: J. Countess / Contributor / Getty