When Gayle King booked her Tuesday night appearance on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” weeks ago, the “CBS This Morning” co-host and O Magazine editor-at-large was prepared to chat about “Oprah’s Favorite Things,” best friend Oprah Winfrey’s annual super-luxe wish list. But, as King sagely noted during the episode, things change…and fast. Initially imagined as a fluffy, fun, holiday-ready segment, King instead was tasked with talking about the very recent firing of her former co-host Charlie Rose, who had been ousted from CBS for allegations of sexual harassment mere hours before King took the “Late Show” stage.
“I came this close to canceling,” King admitted when she first came out.
Colbert, however, was quick to compliment the anchor for her and co-anchor Norah O’Donnell’s treatment of the story just that morning on their daily show, telling her, “I was very proud of CBS news and what you, and Norah [O’Donnell] and everyone at ‘CBS This Morning’ did, covering the allegations against Charlie Rose as news, objectively and fully.”
“Yeah, but that’s what you have to do,” King responded. She added, “To be honest with you, it still isn’t easy, it’s still very painful, it’s still very hurtful. Charlie and I, we’ve worked together, been friends, but when you think about the anguish of those women, despite the friendship, you still have to report the news.”
When asked how she is dealing with the fallout from the still-evolving story, King was characteristically honest. “I’m a variety of emotions,” King said. “There’s certainly some anger, there’s some sadness, there’s compassion, there’s concern…I can’t really say I’m one thing.”
King soon moved the attention back to Rose’s accusers and her hopes for the future, telling Colbert, “If anything changes in this, what I do hope is that people will speak up and that companies are sending a message of ‘we have zero tolerance for this kind of behavior,’ and that is a very important thing.”
You can watch King on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” below: