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Gayle King Responds To Backlash After Discussing Kobe Bryant’s Rape Allegations

The veteran journalist brought up the allegations in an interview with Lisa Leslie.

Gayle King is responding to backlash after bringing up Kobe Bryant’s rape allegations during an interview with basketball great, Lisa Leslie, for CBS This Morning. A clip of King's interview went viral on Wednesday (Feb. 5).

“I understand why people are upset seeing that clip out of context,” she said in a statement to USA Today. "I hope they will now watch the entire wide-ranging interview. We asked a longtime friend of Kobe Bryant’s to talk to us about his legacy and their friendship and Lisa Leslie did exactly that.”

In the sit-down discussing Bryant’s legacy, King mentioned the nearly 20-year-old rape case against Bryant that was later dismissed.

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

Leslie replied, “It’s not complicated for me at all. Even if there’s a few times that we’ve been in the 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.’ I have other NBA friends that are like that. Kobe, he was never like that. I 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.”

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

“And that’s possible,” said Leslie. “I just don’t believe that, and I’m not saying things didn’t happen. I just don’t believe that things [happened] with force.”

Bryant was accused of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old hotel employee in 2003. The Lakers star admitted to having sex with the woman but denied that the encounter wasn’t consensual. The woman filed a civil suit against Bryant that was settled out of court.

King questioned the fairness of talking about the allegations, given that the late NBA legend can no longer defend himself. “Or is it really part of his history?”

Leslie said that the media should be “more respectful” about the topic, especially as Bryant's family, friends, and fans continue to mourn his death.  “It’s like, if you had questions about it, you’ve had many years to ask him that,” she added. “I don’t think it’s something that we should keep hanging over his legacy. I’m mean, [the case] went to trial.”

King noted that the case was dismissed because the accuser refused to testify, to which Leslie replied, “And I think that we should leave it there.”

The viral clip was met with swift backlash against King, who was accused of targeting black male celebrities, and turning a blind eye against white celebs who have been accused of rape, such as Harvey Weinstein.

See more of King's interview with Leslie below.

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Rihanna And Twitter CEO Donate $4 Million To Help Domestic Violence Survivors Amid Pandemic

Rihanna and her Clara Lionel Foundation are teaming with Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, to donate a combined $4.2 million to aid domestic violence victims amid the global pandemic.

“We’re joining forces with Twitter/Square CEO @Jack today by co-founding a $4.2 million grant to the Mayors Fund LA to address the current crisis for domestic violence victims in Los Angeles as a result of the COVID-19 Safer at Home Order,” reads a message posted to the Clara Lionel Foundation’s Instagram account on Thursday (April 9).

Dorsey pledged $1 billion towards COVID-19 relief, which he announced earlier in the week. The $4.2 million donation ($2.1 million from Rihanna's foundation and $2.1 million from Dorsey) will provide 10 weeks of support which includes shelter, meals and counseling for domestic violence survivors and their children “at a time when shelter are full and incidents are on the rise.”

Domestic violence rates have spiked around the world amid the coronavirus outbreak. Advocates fear that mandatory stay-at-home orders, loss of employment and economic stress along with school closures and court closures will make it harder for people in abusive relationship to seek assistance.

“For someone in an abusive relationship this is kind of a worst-case scenario,” Alyson Messenger, a managing staff attorney for domestic violence organization, the Jenesse Center, told the Los Angeles Times. “Compound that with the fact that access to service is more difficult than ever.”

In addition to her latest act of generosity, Rih Rih has donated $5 million in COVID-19 relief aid and sent supplies for health care workers in New York. She also sent a ventilator to her father after he contracted the viral disease.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

We're joining forces with Twitter/Square CEO @Jack today by co-funding a $4.2 million grant to the #MayorsFundforLA to address the current crisis for domestic violence victims in Los Angeles as a result of the COVID-19 Safer at Home Order. These funds will provide 10 weeks of support including shelter, meals and counseling for individuals and their children suffering from domestic violence at a time when shelters are full and incidents are on the rise. #startsmall #CLF

A post shared by Clara Lionel Foundation (@claralionelfdn) on Apr 9, 2020 at 2:30pm PDT

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Colin Kaepernick Reportedly Hopes To Join An NFL Team In Time For 2020 Season

Colin Kaepernick is reportedly looking to return to the NFL by the start of the new football season. Kaepernick was trending on Twitter on Thursday (April 9) after a Sports Center parody account tweeted that he inked a one-year $9 million deal with the New York Jets.

The story was fake, but according to TMZ Sports, Kaepernick could be interested in becoming a member of the Jets team. While it’s not clear if the Jets would consider adding Kaepernick to the roster, the website claims that the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback plans to reach out to the Jets and other teams with hopes of getting him back on the field in time for the 2020 NFL season, which begins in September.

The 32-year-old athlete hasn’t played on a team since becoming a free agent in 2017, and devoting much of his time to social activism. In November, Kapernick participated in an ill-fated workout in front of multiple NFL teams.

“I’ve been ready for three years. I’ve been denied for three years,” Kaepernick said at the time. “So we are waiting for the 32 owners, 32 teams and [NFL commissioner] Roger Goodell to stop running. Stop running from the truth, stop running from the people. We are ready to play. We are ready to go anywhere.”

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Usher And Diplo Weigh In On The Weeknd Claiming He Inspired “Climax”

While the internet remains divided over whether or not The Weeknd inspired “Climax,” Usher and the song’s producer, Diplo, are weighing in on the matter.

In response to all the hoopla, Diplo took to Twitter on Thursday (April 9) to confirm The Weeknd’s assertion that his House of Balloon mixtape inspired Usher’s 2012 hit single. “The production on Climax lends itself to House of Balloons era @theweeknd,” tweeted Diplo. “When I heard those early records they blew my mind - soulful in their silences, and a spacey iconic voice that felt uniquely internet. the idea of R&B having dark edges was what I wanted to bring to @usher.”

The Weeknd replied by accusing the media of blowing the story “out of proportion” and noted, “Usher is king and always an inspiration so it was flattering to hear what him and Diplo did on ‘Climax.’”

Of course media blows things out of proportion and takes things out of context. Usher is a King and always an inspiration so it was flattering to hear what him and Diplo did on climax. XO https://t.co/GdLX4xD58a

— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) April 9, 2020

Usher hasn’t directly responded to The Weeknd but he tweeted an analogy for fans to decipher.

Have you ever seen the moon bark back at the dog?

— Usher Raymond IV (@Usher) April 9, 2020

On Wednesday (April 8), the “Don’t Waste My Time” singer took to his Instagram Stories to kick off the #ClimaxChallenge with an acapella performance.

[email protected] joined in on the #ClimaxChallenge on Instagram. But first, let’s hear some of the entries, shall we? 👀👂🏾 pic.twitter.com/B7rEC8j5tQ

— Vibe Magazine (@VibeMagazine) April 9, 2020

The Weeknd made mention of Climax during an interview with Variety magazine where he stated that his House of Balloons mixtape “literally changed the sound of pop music” right before his eye.

“I heard ‘Climax,’ that Usher song, and was like, ‘Holy f**k that’s a Weeknd song,” said the Toronto native. “It was very flattering, and I knew I was doing something right, but I also got angry. But the older I got, I realized it’s a good thing.”

The 2012 Diplo-produced track, which was co-written by Elijah Blake, was the lead single off Usher’s Looking 4 Myself album. When “Climax” first dropped many assumed that song was a sexual reference. Usher later explained that the track was actually a break up story wrapped in a double entendre.

“When you’re in a relationship, or what you figure to be a relationship, and it’s kinda reached the climax of where it could go, you gotta’ let it go if you’re not going to commit,” he shared in an interview with Atlanta’s V103 radio station. “It’s not about sex, it’s about an out of control experience and the person has reached the peak of that experience.”

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