Joe and I have been in shock at the deafening silence in the media, the pages of our major newspapers and among our peers about Snoop Dogg’s recent threat to "CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King’s life.
The controversy started when King recently interviewed WNBA star Lisa Leslie about the late basketball legend Kobe Bryant. During the interview, King asked Leslie about the 2003 sexual assault allegations brought against Bryant, which were eventually dismissed.
CBS News shared a clip on Twitter showing King asking about Bryant’s sexual assault allegations (and not the whole, wide-ranging interview). That’s when Snoop Dogg took to Instagram with a profanity-laced tirade to his 39 million followers and among other things told King to “Respect the family and back off b----, before we come get you.”
These comments were disgusting and wrong. And yes, some people have called them out as such. Thank you to my friends and colleagues who have supported me on social media in response to what we have said about the issue.
Joe and I have been raising this issue loudly on "Morning Joe." And on Wednesday afternoon, minutes after this article was posted, Snoop Dogg publicly apologized to King on Instagram.
Still, I ask:
Where were the powerful voices, particularly the powerful women, rushing to King’s defense? Where are the consequences?
Roseanne Barr was fired for racist tweets. Her show was cancelled. Many lost their jobs. Is corporate America too afraid of a powerful man who delivers a profanity-laced threat to the life of a journalist?
Women have been increasingly vocal on issues pertaining to sexual harassment and their rights in the workplace. Women have been on the front lines of fighting for each other and lifting each other up. Women have argued they don’t get opportunities and pay that men get.
We have been using our voices and making ourselves heard. We should be doing it now too.
There have been only a few powerful women who have spoken up for King. It's not nearly enough. For example, MoveOn chief public affairs officer Karine Jean-Pierre discussed the controversy on “Morning Joe” earlier this week. She summed it up perfectly, saying, “When you are a black woman in this country, you feel threatened, and many times people don’t stand up for you.”
The head of CBS News at least went halfway and said it was reprehensible. But where are the calls for consequences? Where are the calls for Snoop to lose record deals and appearances on TV shows?
King is a trusted journalist who has proven herself over the course of 30 years in this business. I worked with her in Hartford, Conn., where she served as a local anchor and won the trust and adoration of her viewers.
She was even the keynote speaker for our first Know Your Value event in Hartford almost six years ago. She has always tried to do her best. She has been there for us. Where are we now for her?
The discussion about whether she should have asked the question about Bryant can be debated in a civil way. It’s a legitimate debate with many layers.
The question, however, is not the issue here.
The issue is that my fellow journalist, beloved friend and incredible symbol for African-American women has been threatened. Can we please raise our voices for King?
Can corporate America step up and do the right thing?
I stand with Gayle. Do you?