Gayle King attends the world premiere of "Cats" at Lincoln...

Gayle King attends the world premiere of "Cats" at Lincoln Center on Dec. 16, 2019, in Manhattan.  Credit: Getty Images / Dia Dipasupil

CBS conceded its error Thursday after Gayle King lambasted the network for an out-of-context interview segment posted online, which had ignited a firestorm of criticism against the "CBS This Morning" co-host.

"I am mortified, I am embarrassed and I am very angry," King, 65, said in a nearly four-minute video on Twitter and Instagram Thursday morning, following social-media attacks on her for an interview in which she referred to the late NBA legend Kobe Bryant's 2003 rape charge. "Unbeknownst to me," she said, "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."

"Gayle conducted a thoughtful, wide-ranging interview with Lisa Leslie about the legacy of Kobe Bryant," CBS News told Newsday in a statement. "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."

The clip, distributed online and on CBS News' social media accounts, was taken from a long “CBS This Morning” interview that aired Tuesday.

In her video, King told her critics, "I've been up reading your comments about the interview I did" with retired WNBA star Lisa Leslie, a friend of Bryant, who died with eight other people in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, at age 41. At just over three minutes into the 5 1/2-minute excerpt, King asks Leslie about the rape allegation.

"It's been said that his legacy is complicated because of a sexual assault charge, which," King immediately noted, "was dismissed in ... 2004." She then asked Leslie, "Is it complicated for you as a woman, as a WNBA player?” Leslie, 47, said it was not, and that she had never witnessed Bryant "do something to violate a woman or be aggressive in that way." King had some brief follow-up.

Social-media commenters blasted King for reasons ranging from the timing of the question so soon after Bryant's death to whether it should have been asked at all. King in her response agreed to a point. "I know that if I had only seen the clip that you saw, I would be extremely angry with me, too," she said. In the full interview, King and Leslie "talked about many things: his career, his passion, his sense of humor, the way he was mentoring other people, how he was starting his next chapter. … And, yes, we talked about that court case, because that court case has also come up."

Most commenters were not mollified by King's explanation, although the African American news and commentary site The Root on Tuesday, noting fallout at the time from what it called the "smear campaign" against the victim by Bryant's defense team, said it was "fair for King to ask of a woman who knew Bryant well: How does she reconcile the allegations with the man she cared about and his impact on a game she loved?"

Bryant in July 2003 was charged with one count of felony sexual assault following an encounter with a 19-year-old Colorado woman. The case was dismissed in September the following year when the accuser declined to testify and Bryant apologized, saying in a statement, "I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter." A civil settlement followed in March 2005.

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