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“CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King was strikingly absent from her show on Friday after she criticized her network.
“CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King was noticeably absent from her show on Friday after trashing CBS News for distributing an “out-of-context” clip that enraged fans of late NBA legend Kobe Bryant — but the network insists it was a scheduled day off and unrelated to her public criticism of CBS News.
The morning show opened without a mention of King, as CBS News correspondent Jericka Duncan sat in her seat amid a report that staffers are angry over the backlash King has received as viewers took to Twitter to question why she was off.
“Gayle was off the show today because she had a long-standing commitment out of town,” a CBS News rep told Fox News.
King’s eyebrow-raising absence came roughly 24 hours after she declared she would have “a very intense discussion” with network executives over handling of an interview about the legacy of Bryant that landed her in hot water with critics.
King recently interviewed WNBA icon Lisa Leslie about her relationship with Bryant and a clip of a particular question about a 2003 rape accusation went viral, with everyone from imprisoned comedian Bill Cosby to rapper Snoop Dogg criticizing the CBS anchor.
She was widely accused of smearing Bryant and responded Thursday with an Instagram video in which she blamed her employer for distributing an “out-of-context” clip of the interview that resulted in the widespread backlash.
“I know that if I had only seen the clip that you saw, I’d be extremely angry with me too,” King said. “I am mortified. I am embarrassed and I am very angry.”
The CBS News anchor said she was advised to ignore the criticism but didn’t follow that advice.
“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. I started getting calls… I didn’t know what people were talking about,” King said.
“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,” King said. ‘There will be a very intense discussion about that.”
King’s decision to blame the incident on CBS has not stopped critics from attacking her on social media, where she continued to be vilified for viral clip on Friday morning.
CBS said that changes to its internal process have already been made as a result of the backlash King received.
“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,” CBS told Fox News.
Meanwhile, TMZ reported on Friday that CBS “staffers feel the network owes it to its talent to keep them out of messes like this” and the network “failed by not protecting its undisputed star of the morning show.”
Citing “sources connected to the show,” TMZ noted that “some of Gayle’s coworkers are incensed over the backlash she’s getting.”
CBS News did not respond to a request for comment about the TMZ report.
Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26. He was 41.