Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell Deny ‘Beef’ Sparked Major CBS Shakeup

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CBS This Morning co-hosts, Gayle King and Norah O’Donnell denied there was a rift between them and hit out at critics Monday morning as a major CBS shakeup was announced.

“The news should rarely be about us, sometimes it isn’t true,” King said, during a segment on the show. She decried reports that she had “insisted” O’Donnell leave the morning show—she will take over as host of CBS Evening News.

“I have no beef with you. You have no beef with me,” King said to O’Donnell, citing Tina Brown who claimed such reports were sexist.

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‘SNL’ Cold Open Features R. Kelly, Gayle King Interview, Hidden Cameras, And The Jail King — Watch Video

The R. Kelly, Gayle King interview received the SNL treatment over the weekend and the video has gone viral. Leslie Jones portrayed the journalist and CBS This Morning co-host who interviewed Robert Sylvester Kelly “R. Kelly” portrayed by Kenan Thompson. Thompson had his work cut out for him as R. Kelly’s interview with King drew millions of views as people watched in awe as R. Kelly became emotional, stood up, spoke over Gayle, shouted out answers, declared his innocence, then became hysterical as he shouted he was fighting for his life.

R. Kelly faces 10 counts of criminal sexual abuse and if convicted could spend up to 70 years in prison.

The opening quickly began spoofing R. Kelly’s responses to Gayle King’s interview.

“My lawyer was telling me, no, but my ego — my ego was telling me yes,” Kenan Thompson stated while in character as  R. Kelly.

Kenan Thompson portrayed the part well and even stood up, mirroring the real-life R. Kelly as he began pacing during the interview.

You may watch the full SNL skit portraying R. Kelly in the video player below.

Have you followed the R. Kelly case? What did you think of Saturday Night Live’s skit? Some of the standouts included showing R. Kelly as portraying himself as a victim, how he began singing during his interview with Gayle King, and that he has trouble with literacy.

During the Surviving R. Kelly docu-series, his ex-wife, Andrea “Drea” Kelly revealed that part of their courtship was the bond they formed when she taught him how to read.

Though R. Kelly has been jailed twice since the documentary, supporters in his community have bailed him out. The SNL skit also paid close attention to the details in the original interview but one aspect that had people shocked was when Kenan looked for the hidden cameras then announced, “You all keep your cameras out like that?”

The skit concluded with Kenan saying he thought Gayle King was the “jail king” indicating the reason why he did the interview was to score points with the jail king and hopefully get out of trouble.

Do you think Leslie Jones and Kenan Thompson did a good job recreating the R. Kelly/Gayle King interview?

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Gayle King Held R. Kelly’s Feet to the Fire. But CBS Shouldn’t Have Interviewed His ‘Girlfriends’

R. Kelly didn’t exactly vindicate himself in this week’s much-discussed interview with Gayle King. In a conversation excerpted on CBS This Morning in advance of Friday’s primetime special The Gayle King Interview With R. Kelly, the R&B superstar and alleged serial abuser yelled, cried, leapt to his feet, denied ever having sex with a woman younger than 17 and accused the parents of his current so-called girlfriends of extortion. As Kelly was detained in Chicago for failing to pay $ 161,000 in child support, late-night hosts and social media had a field day with the bizarre footage.

All that ridicule has largely overshadowed King’s additional sit-down with the two women who currently live with Kelly, 21-year-old Azriel Clary and 23-year-old Joycelyn Savage. During that interview, they offered a calmer, more poised defense of the singer that I nonetheless found more chilling than Kelly’s temper tantrum. In a clip that aired Thursday on This Morning, the women more or less invert the rigorously vetted accounts of Kelly’s dozens of accusers, framing their lives with him as an escape from evil parents. They explain that they’re both Kelly’s girlfriends, that they’re in love with the 52-year-old musician and that the three of them function as a “family.” When King asks whether that three-way bond extends into the bedroom, Clary refuses to respond: “I would never share with anyone what I do in or outside of the bedroom,” she snaps. “And as a woman, I’m sure you would not either.” Both women claim that their parents want to extract money from Kelly. Clary maintains that when she was 17, her mom and dad tried “to get me to take photos with him, take sexual videos with him” because “they said if they ever had to blackmail him—what they’re trying to do now—they can use it against him.”

In the video, Savage and Clary seem to have little in common with the meek, battered victims we usually see in fictional depictions of domestic abuse; they come off as confident, healthy and well spoken. Dressed conservatively, Clary in all black and Savage in a red pantsuit, they could work at a law firm. If you hadn’t seen woman after woman speak out about their harrowing experiences with Kelly in Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly or otherwise followed the charges leveled at him over the last two decades, from domestic violence to emotional abuse to statutory rape, you could come away from the interview open to the possibility that three adults were being persecuted simply for carrying on an unusual but ultimately consensual relationship.

To their credit, King and CBS have provided context for the story. Following the clip of Clary and Savage’s interview, King said that both women’s parents denied seeking or receiving money from Kelly. She recounted to her This Morning co-hosts how he stood just outside the room throughout her conversation with the women, coughing loudly in an ostensible effort to make his presence felt. CBS cited medical records disputing a claim Clary made, that pressure from her parents to launch a singing career drove her to attempt suicide. On Friday, This Morning aired a wrenching interview in which Savage’s parents tell King their very different side of the story. Though short on previously unseen footage from King’s dialogues, the primetime special did incorporate the voices of Kelly’s accusers, of Surviving R. Kelly executive producer dream hampton and of Jim DeRogatis, the Chicago journalist who has been investigating these allegations since 2000.

To do any less would have constituted journalistic malpractice. But that doesn’t mean that this week’s news cycle has done right by Kelly’s accusers. By airing the conversation King had with Clary and Savage while he was within earshot—and doing so without the insight of psychologists and other experts on abusive relationships that added such crucial context to Surviving R. Kelly—CBS gave weight to their defenses of a man whom many believe brainwashed them into submission. Watching the women plead his case, my mind turned to HBO’s Leaving Neverland and the post-show discussion King’s best friend Oprah moderated with the Michael Jackson accusers it profiled, James Safechuck and Wade Robson. These men, who say the pop icon started abusing them before they hit puberty, not only kept that trauma to themselves for decades but publicly defended Jackson as young adults.

Perhaps Kelly didn’t put words in Savage and Clary’s mouths; maybe they really do feel love for him. As Robson and Safechuck tell it, they grew up thinking of their relationships with a rich, powerful and widely revered musician as love stories, too. “Michael trained me and forced me to tell the lie for so many years, and particularly on the [witness] stand,” Robson told Oprah. “And those were really traumatizing experiences for me that had a huge impact on the rest of my life.” Safechuck admitted to feeling guilty about coming forward even after Jackson’s death. Just before going public with his accusations, he recalled feeling like he’d disappointed the late star.

It’s hard to imagine the highly subjective counter-narrative Kelly, Clary and Savage put forth this week destroying the momentum Surviving R. Kelly and the reams of investigative reporting that preceded it have built up—and I realize that Kelly is pretty much the worst possible advocate for himself at this point. But even as some of us continue to marvel at Kelly’s histrionics, I hope we’ll also come to understand that victims still in thrall to their abuser don’t tend to be reliable narrators.


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Gayle King Fires Back at Fox News’ Jesse Watters for Confusing Her with Robin Roberts

Scott Kowalchyk

Gayle King’s big interview with R. Kelly got plaudits from all over this week, including from Fox News, where The Five co-host Jesse Watters praised the CBS This Morning host for staying calm as the singer and accused child rapist ranted and raved in her face. There was one problem, however.

“Hats off to Gayle King for totally redeeming herself after the Smollett fiasco,” Watters said. His co-host Dana Perino had to correct him. It was Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts who interviewed actor Jussie Smollett after his alleged attack. “Oh, I knew that,” he said before ultimately apologizing for the mix-up.

“Were you happy to hear that Fox News’ Jesse Watters gave you props for this interview after that Jussie Smollett interview you did?” Stephen Colbert asked King during her Late Show victory lap Thursday night.

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Gayle King Faces Down R. Kelly: ‘What Makes You So Special?’

CBS News

Gayle King, host of CBS This Morning, stared down R. Kelly as he loomed above her—ranting and shouting—during an interview about the numerous abuse accusations leveled against him.

King maintained her composure throughout, telling the R&B star to his face that his account lacked credibility.

The veteran interviewer posted an Instagram shot of Kelly towering over her during the interview as he shouted “You don’t want to believe this!”

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