Social media exploded Wednesday morning during CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King's interview with R. Kelly, who lashed out at the 64-year-old anchor while maintaining his innocence against the 10 criminal sexual abuse charges against him.
During the interview, Kelly exploded with anger and denial, breaking into tears, raising his hand and claiming that previous accusations of sexual abuse were not relevant to his current case.
"Quit playin'. I didn't do this stuff. This is not me," he said in a clip from the interview, which aired Wednesday morning. "I'm fighting for my f—ing life."
While Kelly grew more and more flustered, King calmly and persistently attempted to get answers from the R&B singer. Many viewers took to Twitter to praise her composure.
"Wow. Gayle King's composure in front of #RKelly is stunning," one Twitter user wrote alongside an image of Kelly towering over King, who remained seated in her chair. In the photo, he's raising his right hand in an exacerbated manner.
Gayle looks unbothered with his nasty man and gave him that “is that right?” Face pic.twitter.com/ODBTRm586S— “Load Management” (@CalledMe_Buskey) March 6, 2019
"Gayle looks unbothered with this nasty man and gave him that 'is that right?' face," another wrote.
"Gayle's level of unbothered in this photo. Same girl same," someone else said, referring to the same shot.
Others praised her journalistic integrity.
"Gayle King's a professional and knows her craft," someone said.
Gayle King's a professional and knows her craft.— Tea & 📚 & Music (@rudetuesday) March 6, 2019
"Once again, masterful interviewing by @GayleKing. I ... the rest of this interview — based on the stills that I've seen posted — honestly, I've no words. But I'll be watching," another wrote.
Some pointed out that King was sitting in for women and girls who didn't have the power to confront Kelly.
"now imagine you're not Gayle King, wealthy journalist, Oprah's best friend, in a room full of white dudes holding a bunch of cameras," one person tweeted. "now imagine you're a 16 year old girl who's been sexually assaulted by him and feels like she can't go home because she made a mistake. imagine."
Another viewer drew a comparison to the tough questions King's best friend, Oprah Winfrey, has been asking in relation to the sexual assault accusations against Michael Jackson. Winfrey sat down with the two men who accused Jackson of abusing them as children in the new HBO documentary Finding Neverland, and said she's bracing herself for backlash for angry Jackson fans.
In fact, Winfrey even weighed in on the reactions surrounding King's R. Kelly interview.
"Bravo @GayleKing for calm and steady focus during #RKelly interview. Outstanding job!" Winfrey wrote. "Tell @CBSThisMorning we want to see the whole thing."0comments
Kelly was charged in Chicago on Feb. 22 in a grand jury indictment with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse involving four victims, three of whom were minors. The next day he surrendered to police and a bond court judge set his bail at $1 million. He pleaded not guilty to all 10 counts of abuse and posted 10 percent of his bail to be released from Cook County Jail.
Kelly's next court date is set for March 22.