Gayle King found herself at the center of controversy last month after a clip of an interview she did with former WNBA star Lisa Leslie went viral in which King asked Leslie about the rape allegations against the late Kobe Bryant. On Saturday, King opened up about the aftermath of her interview during the final stop of Oprah Winfrey's 2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus Tour in Denver, telling her good friend that the situation was "very painful" for her.
"I have moved on," King said, via PEOPLE. "Is there a scab? Yeah. But I have moved on." She continued, "I put on my game face and my big girl pants, because I never lost sight of who I was, what I believe I am, and my intention. I've never lost sight of that. ... But it certainly was a learning curve, and it was very painful."
After the backlash, Winfrey spoke out in support of King and noted on Saturday that the "good people" who stayed silent only continued the situation. "In every circumstance, I think this is something for us to remember," the mogul said. "It's not the people who are being mean, it's not the badness, it's not the vitriol that's being put into the world, but it's the good people who remain silent that becomes so hurtful."
"I think we can disagree politically, we can disagree socially, if you want to, but I just think humanity should prevail always," King mused. "I think we still have to figure out a way to navigate that with each other. That we can disagree, and you can be mad at me even, but you can't speak to me the way I was spoken to and threatened."
During her interview with Leslie, King asked the athlete whether she viewed Bryant's legacy as "complicated" due to the allegations that were brought against him 2003. The clip that circulated prompted criticism from people including 50 Cent and Snoop Dogg, the latter of whom publicly apologized to King after sending her a particularly nasty public threat.
"I accept the apology and understand the raw emotions caused by this tragic loss," King said in a statement to The Associated Press at the time. "As a journalist, it is sometimes challenging to balance doing my job with the emotions and feelings during difficult times," she added. "I don't always get it perfect but I'm constantly striving to do it with compassion and integrity."
On Saturday, Winfrey told King, "I love that you said through it all you never questioned who you were."
"No, I absolutely didn't, Oprah," King said.
Photo Credit: Getty / Slaven Vlasic0comments