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Gayle King Criticized for Kobe Bryant Rape Case Interview Question

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  • Gayle King of CBS This Morning is facing harsh criticism after including a question about Kobe Bryant’s sexual assault case in her interview with former WNBA player Lisa Leslie.
  • Among the backlash was an explicit video from rapper Snoop Dogg, who addressed King directly and told her she was “way out of pocket.” 
  • On Thursday, King posted a video of herself on her social channels, expressing anger at CBS for including the clip in a way that was “out of context.” 
  • She said that she intended no disrespect to the late basketball legend.

Controversial Interview Question

CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King said she is “very angry” with her own network for posting a clip of her discussing Kobe Bryant’s rape case less than two weeks after the basketball star’s death — a move that has resulted in harsh criticism for the TV personality. 

The clip was from King’s interview with Lisa Leslie, a former WNBA player and long-time friend of Bryant’s. CBS This Morning posted parts of the interview on their social channels on Feb. 5. In addition to discussions on Kobe’s influence and daughter, King posed a controversial question.

“It’s been said that his legacy is complicated because of [the] sexual assault charge which was dismissed in 2003, 2004,” she said. “Is it complicated for you as a woman, as a WNBA player?” 

“It’s not complicated for me at all,” Leslie replied.

“I just have never seen him being the kind of person that would do something to violate a woman or be aggressive in that way. That’s just not the person that I know,” Leslie added. 

King did not end the dialogue there.

“But Lisa, you wouldn’t see it though. As his friend, you wouldn’t see it,” King said. 

“And that’s possible,” Leslie conceded. “I just don’t believe that. And I’m not saying things didn’t happen. I just don’t believe that things didn’t happen with force.”

In her follow-up question, King acknowledged the sensitivity and mixed feelings on the matter in the wake of the NBA legend’s passing.

“Is it even a fair question to talk about it, considering he’s no longer with us and that it was resolved, or is it really part of his history?” the host asked Leslie.

“I think that the media should be more respectful at this time,” Leslie said. “It’s like, if you had questions about it, you had many years to ask him that. I don’t think it’s something that we should keep hanging over his legacy.”

Bryant faced a sexual assault accusation in 2003 from a 19-year-old hotel employee. The case was moved to court but was dropped in 2004 when the accuser refused to testify. The accuser later filed a civil suit, which Bryant settled outside of court. Since his death, the case has been brought up several times and prompted hostile reactions from some who believe it is inappropriate to discuss at this time. 

Backlash

King faced reactions akin to these herself when the CBS interview was made public. One of the most prominent people to call her out was 48-year-old rapper Snoop Dogg, who dedicated an explicit Instagram video to the matter. 

“Gayle King,” he said in the post. “Out of pocket for that s***. Way out of pocket. What do you gain from that?” 

He then seemed to imply that King was setting a racially-charged double standard by asking those questions about Bryant and not somebody like Harvey Weinstein. 

“We expect more from you Gayle. Don’t you hang out with Oprah? Why you all attacking us? We your people,” Snoop Dogg said. “You ain’t coming after f****** Harvey Weinstein asking them dumb ass questions.” 

Snoop Dogg ended his video by cussing out the TV personality.

“How dare you try to torch my motherf**** homeboy’s reputation, punk motherf*****,” he said to the camera. “Respect the family and back off, b****, before we come get you.” 

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Similar criticisms of King were posted across the internet. “Very disappointed that you would bring this up at this difficult time Gayle…Very distasteful,” someone wrote in a comment on the CBS video.

“If you weren’t bold enough to ask Kobe while he was still here, don’t do it when he’s no longer here to speak on it and defend himself,” another said. “This is so distasteful and disrespectful! Props to Leslie for defending Kobe’s character.”

Tweets directed at her were just as unforgiving. 

“I hate to say it but I’m not surprised by Gayle King pushing the Kobe Bryant accusation,” one user wrote. “She is Oprah’s minion and this is what these 2 do….go after black men – even more so if they have died and can’t defend themselves.”

King’s Response

On Thursday morning, in the wake of the backlash, King posted a video on her social channels explaining her perspective on the Lisa Leslie interview and the controversial question she asked. 

She expressed her disappointment in the way the clips were cut and framed.

“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,” King said. “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 went on to say that she had been advised to say nothing and let the controversy blow over, but that was not “good enough for [her].” She described the interview as “wide-ranging,” and said they discussed many topics, including Kobe’s career, passion, sense of humor, and role as a mentor, among other things.

“And yes we talked about that court case because that court case has also come up,” King said. “And I wanted to get Lisa’s take on it as a friend who knew him well.” 

King said she thought it was “very powerful” when Leslie told her that it was time for the media to leave discussions of Bryant’s sexual assault allegations alone. She added that she “insisted” that part of the interview be included in the final cut because she thought that “it put a nice button on that part of the conversation.” 

She added that she believes Leslie was okay with the interview as a whole, and went on to condemn CBS once again.

“So 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 is very upsetting to me and that’s something I’m going to have to deal with with them. And there will be a very intense discussion about that,” she said.

She concluded her posts by talking about her encounters with Bryant and the kindness she experienced from him. 

“I too am mourning his loss just like everybody else,” she said. “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. I hope people understand that.”

“No disrespect intended,” she added. 

Despite King’s explainer videos, she still received hate from people online. Many still maintained the opinion that the question was wrong to ask at all just after his death.

“You’ve had enough time to ask that question when Kobe retired,” one user wrote. “Respect the family. It’s a time and place for everything. Kobe and his daughter haven’t been put to rest yet and you are still asking that question. Do better.” 

“Damage control. You wouldn’t have to make this video this morning if you would have never asked to begin with,” another said.

See what others are saying: (USA Today) (Los Angeles Times) (NBC)

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FDA Authorizes Moderna and J&J COVID Vaccine Boosters, Approves Mix-and-Match Doses

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The approval will allow at-risk Americans who received Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to get any booster six months after their initial series and all Johnson & Johnson recipients 18 and older to do the same two months after their single-shot dose.


New FDA Authorization

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday authorized boosters shots of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines and approved a mix-and-match strategy that will allow people who got one company’s shot to get a booster from a different maker.

The decision paves the way for millions of more at-risk Americans to get extra protection, and not just certain Pfizer recipients as previously approved by the FDA.

Under the authorization, people who received Moderna or Pfizer can get any one of the three booster shots six months after completing their initial series if they are 65 and older, at high risk of severe COVID, or face increased exposure because of their work.

Meanwhile, all J&J recipients 18 and older can get any of the approved vaccines two months after they received the one-shot jab.

Hazy Recommendations, For Now

Notably, the FDA did not recommend a certain combination of vaccines, nor did the agency say whether or not it would be more effective for people to stick with their original vaccine maker for their booster.

The new authorizations draw on a study from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which found that there are no safety concerns with mixing boosters and that vaccine combinations were at least as effective in stimulating antibodies as matched vaccines.

In the case of J&J recipients, the NIH found that people actually had a higher boost from mixing either Moderna or Pfizer boosters.

However, some of the scientists who worked on the study said it should not be used to recommend one combination over another because the research was limited.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which determines vaccine recommendations, could issue more guidance on when and whether people should switch vaccine makers for their booster shots.

An advisory panel for the agency is meeting Thursday to discuss the new FDA authorizations and recommendations.

Once the panel makes its decision, the CDC director has the final say on the guidelines. If the agency agrees with the FDA’s decisions, the booster shots could be rolled out as soon as this weekend.

See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (NPR) (The Washington Post)

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Paris Hilton Urges Lawmakers To Crack Down on Abusive Teen Treatment Facilities

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The heiress alleges that she was a victim of abuse in these types of centers for two years and wants to ensure that no child suffers through the same experience.


Paris Hilton Details Abuse Within “Troubled Teen Industry”

Socialite and entrepreneur Paris Hilton spoke outside of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday to support the Accountability for Congregate Care Act, which is set to be introduced in the near future.

Hilton joined Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) to advocate for the legislation, which aims to create a “bill of rights” for children in treatment and behavioral centers.

The heiress has alleged that she spent two of her teenage years in these types of facilities and was subject to rampant abuse. She is far from alone. 

During a press conference, Hilton said that one night when she was 16, she woke up to two large men in her bedroom forcing her out of her house. She said she screamed for help because she thought she was being kidnapped, but her parents watched as she was taken away to a “troubled teen” program. 

“Like countless other parents of teens, my parents had searched for solutions to my rebellious behavior,” she explained in an op-ed for The Washington Post this week. “Unfortunately, they fell for the misleading marketing of the ‘troubled teen industry’ — therapeutic boarding schools, military-style boot camps, juvenile justice facilities, behavior modification programs and other facilities that generate roughly $50 billion annually in part by pitching ‘tough love’ as the answer to problematic behavior.”

Hilton said she was sent to four different facilities where she was “physically and psychologically abused.” 

“I was strangled, slapped across the face, watched in the shower by male staff, called vulgar names, forced to take medication without a diagnosis, not given a proper education, thrown into solitary confinement in a room covered in scratch marks and smeared in blood and so much more,” she explained during the press conference. 

“At Provo Canyon School in Utah, I was given clothes with a number on the tag. I was no longer me, I was only number 127,” she continued. “I was forced to stay indoors for 11 months straight, no sunlight, no fresh air. These were considered privileges.”

Goals of the  Accountability for Congregate Care Act

Hilton claims that a lack of transparency and accountability has allowed this structure of abuse to thrive for decades. In some cases, she said it has taken children’s lives. Now, she wants Congress and President Joe Biden to act. 

“This bill creates an urgently needed bill of rights to ensure that every child placed into congregate care facilities is provided a safe and humane environment,” Hilton said of the Accountability for Congregate Care Act.

“This bill of rights provides protections that I wasn’t afforded, like access to education, to the outdoors, freedom from abusive treatment, and even the basic right to move and speak freely. If I had these rights and could have exercised them, I would have been saved from over 20 years of trauma and severe PTSD.” 

Foster children, children being treated for mental disorders, and other children in youth programs would be impacted by the bill.

Hilton was one of several survivors and advocates who fought for the legislation on Wednesday. Rep. Khanna thanked them for using their stories to fight for change. 

“No child should be subjected to solitary confinement, forced labor, or any form of institutional abuse,” he wrote. “Thanks to Paris Hilton, my colleagues & the survivors & advocates who joined us today to discuss how we can hold the congregate care industry accountable.”

While only Democratic legislators are currently sponsoring the bill, Hilton called for a bipartisan effort to fight for the rights of children. 

Ensuring that children are safe from institutional abuse isn’t a Republican or Democratic issue,” Hilton said. “It’s a basic human rights issue that requires immediate attention.”

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The Hill) (NBC News)

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Surgeons Successfully Test Pig Kidney Transplant on a Human

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The procedure has been hailed as a major scientific breakthrough that could eventually open the door to a renewable source of desperately needed organs.


Groundbreaking Procedure

Surgeons at the NYU Langone Transplant Institute revealed Tuesday that they temporarily attached a kidney from a genetically modified pig to a human patient and found that it worked normally.

The operation was the first of its kind and could one day lead to a vast supply of organs for those who are in severe need. According to the Associated Press, more than 90,000 people in the U.S. are in line for a kidney transplant. Each day, an average of 12 die while waiting.

With the family’s consent, the groundbreaking procedure was performed on a brain-dead patient who was kept alive on a ventilator.

According to the surgeons, the pig used was genetically engineered to grow an organ that wouldn’t produce a sugar that the human immune system attacks, which would then trigger the body to reject the kidney. 

The organ was connected to blood vessels on the patient’s upper leg, outside the abdomen, and it was observed for over 54 hours, with doctors finding no signs of rejection.

Concerns and Hurdles Ahead

While the procedure was successful, this doesn’t mean it’ll be available to patients anytime soon. Several questions about long-term functionality remain, and it will still have to go through significant medical and regulatory hurdles. 

Details of the procedure haven’t even been peer-reviewed or published in a medical journal yet, though there are plans for this. 

Experts are also considering the ethical implications of this type of animal-to-human transplant. For some, raising pigs to harvest their organs raises concerns about animal welfare and exploitation. Such medical procedures have already earned criticism from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA.

“Pigs aren’t spare parts and should never be used as such just because humans are too self-centered to donate their bodies to patients desperate for organ transplants,” PETA said in a statement, according to The New York Times.

On the other side of the debate are people like Dr. Robert Montgomery, the director of the N.Y.U. Langone Transplant Institute who performed the breakthrough procedure in September.

“I certainly understand the concern and what I would say is that currently about 40% of patients who are waiting for a transplant die before they receive one,” he told BBC.

“We use pigs as a source of food, we use pigs for medicinal uses – for valves, for medication. I think it’s not that different.”

See what others are saying: (CNN)(BBC) (The New York Times)

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