Journalists pride themselves on composure and objectivity, but sometimes a story just hits too close to him.
That went double for Gayle King on Tuesday, who appeared shaken while reporting on two big stories of Black lives being threatened by white people. The first involved Amy Cooper, the woman in Central Park who called the police and tell them "an African American man is threatening me" after said African American man, Christian Cooper (no relation), politely asked her to leash her dog. Video of the incident, recorded by Mr. Cooper, went viral, sparking outrage and drawing comparisons to Emmett Till.
The second story realized the worst possible outcome of a Black man's encounter with white supremacy: Minneapolis resident George Floyd lost his life after gasping for breath when a police officer held his knee to Floyd's neck for over five minutes. That tragedy was also caught on video and broadcast to the world through social media.
“Once again I say thank goodness that there’s videotape,” said King after viewing the footage from both incidents. “As the daughter of a black man and the mother of a black man, this is really too much for me today.”
“I’m still rattled by this last story and she’s practically strangling her dog to make these false accusations against another Black man,” King continued, before going on to comment on the footage of Floyd. “I’m still so upset by that last story where the man is handcuffed underneath a car where people are pleading he can’t breathe and we’re watching a man die.”
“So we go from that story to this story, where she falsely accuses a Black man on television,” continued King. “I don’t even know what to do or how to handle this at this particular time. I know that this is … I am speechless. I am really, really speechless about what we’re seeing in television this morning. It feels to me like an open season and it’s not sometimes a safe place to be in this country for Black men and today it’s too much for me.”
Watch Gayle's emotional reaction starting at the 1:50 mark, below:
Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images