“I accept the apology and understand the raw emotions caused by this tragic loss,” King said in a statement Thursday. “I’m deeply sorry that questions I asked added to that pain. That was never my intention.”
Snoop was among those who criticized King for referencing the rape allegation in an interview with former WNBA star Lisa Leslie, a friend of Bryant, who was discussing the late NBA star’s legacy. Bryant was charged with sexual assault and false imprisonment 17 years ago after a woman working at a Colorado hotel he visited accused him of rape. The case did not go to trial because the woman declined to testify; Bryant later apologized to the woman and paid an undisclosed amount in a civil settlement.
“As a journalist, it is sometimes challenging to balance doing my job with the emotions and feelings during difficult times,” King noted in her statement Thursday. “I don’t always get it perfect but I’m constantly striving to do it with compassion and integrity.
King isn’t the only journalist to face criticism for bringing up the allegation following the 41-year-old Bryant’s death in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26 that also killed his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others. Amid the criticism, King said her network had taken a snippet from a wide-ranging interview that had aired earlier in the week and that she was “mortified” and “very angry” that the discussion had been excerpted in that manner.
Snoop was also widely criticized by those who felt his expletive-laced rant was misogynistic and threatening, as he told King to “back off, b----, before we come get you.” Many King supporters pointed out the rapper’s increasingly visible TV persona as reason for concern: He launched a plant-based breakfast sandwich in collaboration with Dunkin’ earlier this year and co-hosts a marijuana-themed VH1 cooking show with lifestyle guru Martha Stewart. The pair recently appeared together in a Tostitos commercial and guest-hosted an episode of “Ellen” that aired the day after Snoop unleashed his attack on King.
Snoop denied he had threatened King in an Instagram video posted earlier this week. “I’m a nonviolent person,” he told his nearly 40 million followers. “When I said what I said, I spoke for the people who felt like Gayle was very disrespectful to Kobe Bryant and his family.”
“I didn’t want no harm to come to her. I didn’t threaten her,” he added. “All I did was said, 'Check it out, you out of pocket for what you’re doing. And we’re watching you.”
King’s longtime close friend and colleague, Oprah Winfrey, said in a “Today” interview last week King was “not doing well” and had hired security after receiving death threats over the interview.
In his post Wednesday, Snoop confessed he was moved to apologize after having a talk with his mother.
“I was raised way better than that,” he said. “So I would like to apologize to you publicly for the language that I used, and calling you out of your name and just being disrespectful.”
Snoop also suggested he wanted to meet with King: “Hopefully we can sit down and talk privately.”