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Photos: Instagram.com/Getty Images

Gayle King lashed out at CBS editors over a promo clip in which she asked the late Kobe Bryant's friend, former WNBA star Lisa Leslie, to comment on his rape accusation.

"It's been said that his legacy is complicated, because of a sexual assault charge that was dismissed in 2003, 2004. Is it complicated for you, as a woman, as a WNBA player?" King asked.

Leslie said the allegations were a "non-issue" for her and that the Bryant she knew would never lust after other women in her presence.

"But Lisa, you wouldn't see it though. As his friend, you wouldn't see it," King persisted.

The 65-year-old co-host of CBS This Morning was shocked and saddened by the public's ferocious response to the clip, which she claimed was "totally taken out of context."

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Screenshots: CBS This Morning

In videos uploaded to her Instagram and Twitter accounts on Thursday, an exhausted King said:

"I've been up reading the comments about the interview I did with Lisa Leslie about Kobe Bryant, and I know that if I had only seen the clip that you saw, I'd be extremely angry with me too. I am mortified. I am embarrassed and I am very angry. 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 said she was persistent with the former WNBA star because she "wanted to make sure [Leslie's] position and perspective were very clear."

She was furious that CBS chose to post that clip without her knowledge.

"For the network to take the most salacious part, when taken out of context, and put it up online for people who didn't see the whole interview was very upsetting to me," she said. "That's something I am going to have to deal with with them."

King emphasized she didn't "intend" to offend the Bryant family, because she viewed Kobe as a friend.

"He was very kind and warm to me and I felt we had a friendly relationship. I too am mourning his loss like anybody else. I still am shocked by it. It's tragic and untimely and the last thing I would want to do is disparage him at this particular time."

CBS was quick to respond to King's allegations that they intentionally hung her out to dry to boost TV ratings.

In a statement to E! News, a CBS spokesperson seemed to confirm King's statement. The spokesperson said "changes have already been made".

"Gayle conducted a thoughtful, wide-ranging interview with Lisa Leslie about the legacy of Kobe Bryant. An excerpt was posted that did not reflect the nature and tone of the full interview. We are addressing the internal process that led to this and changes have already been made."

 

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Photos: Instagram.com/Getty Images

Gayle King lashed out at executives at CBS over a promo clip in which she asked the late Kobe Bryant's friend, former WNBA star Lisa Leslie, to comment on his rape accusation.

The NBA legend was killed in a helicopter crash at the age of 41 last month, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others.

King believes CBS set her up by releasing the promo clip over dozens of other clips they could have used.

In the clip, King asked Leslie if she thought the rape allegation "complicated" Bryant's legacy.

Bryant was charged with sexual assault after he had consensual sex with a promiscuous 19-year-old desk clerk at a Colorado resort in 2003.

The charge was later dismissed as a criminal complaint but settled as a civil case in 2005.

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Screenshots: CBS This Morning

"It's been said that his legacy is complicated, because of a sexual assault charge that was dismissed in 2003, 2004. Is it complicated for you, as a woman, as a WNBA player?" King asked.

Leslie said the allegations were a "non-issue" for her and that the Bryant she knew would never lust after other women in her presence.

"It's not complicated to me at all, Leslie said. "Even if there's a few times that we've been at a club at the same time, Kobe's not the kind of guy, never been, like, 'Lis, go get that girl, or tell her, or send her this.'"

"But Lisa, you wouldn't see it though. As his friend, you wouldn't see it," King persisted.

The snippet was part of a wider interview with Leslie, but was the only clip CBS released online.

Predictably, Bryant's fans attacked King over the "disrespectful" line of questioning. The backlash was furious on social media. Many attacked King and her association with media mogul Oprah, who recently cancelled a planned documentary on sexual misconduct allegations against Russell Simmons.

Angry Bryant fans even went IN on King's wig.
 

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Taking to Instagram, a somber-looking King responded: "I've been up reading the comments about the interview I did with Lisa Leslie about Kobe Bryant, and I know that if I had only seen the clip that you saw, I'd be extremely angry with me too."

King continued: "I am mortified. I am embarrassed and I am very angry. 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. It's jarring to me. I didn't even know anything about it."

Honoring Bryant as "warm and friendly", King insisted there will be "a very intense discussion" between her and CBS about her future celebrity interviews going forward.