Monday, March 11, 2019

Was It Really Gayle's Fault?

I've avoided a lot of the social media conversations surrounding the R. Kelly interview. This has been difficult: I've never had a problem using my 2 cents to make it rain. With that said, at what point in the interview did Gayle King become responsible for the answers he gave? When did his tone and temperament become her responsibility?

Full disclosure: I think R. Kelly is a pedophile. I wouldn't let him near anyone in my family. He's a pedophile and comparing his brand of pedophilia to the pedophilia practiced by Woody Allen or Elvis Presley does nothing for the victims of their crimes. I understand the racial component of this story. Hollywood has protected prominent white and Jewish pedophiles for too long. There is hypocrisy at work, but that hypocrisy doesn't negate the fact that R. Kelly went on national television and had a complete meltdown.

Let's say you were accused of a heinous crime. Let's also say you were given an opportunity to go on national television and give your side of the story. Who would be responsible for you accepting the interview? Who would be responsible for making sure you had legal counsel by your side? Who would be responsible for the way you comported yourself during the interview?

I'm troubled that so many of the people "Monday Morning Quarterbacking" this interview found more fault with Gayle King than R. Kelly. Gayle did what any journalist would do: she went out and got the interview. She asked questions specific to the subject at hand. R. Kelly could have said no. He didn't have to go on television. He didn't have to make the spectacle he did. If he went on CBS and made a compelling case for his innocence the news cycle would have gone on without him. This blew up because he blew up.

There are a lot of the R. Kelly supporters who refuse to accept the fact that he created all of the problems he's facing. If he's innocent he will be given a chance to prove it. If he's guilty he will serve his time. Pinning this debacle on Gayle King does nothing constructive. There has been a collective blind eye turned to protect some of America's most beloved pedophiles, but Gayle King isn't responsible for this reality. She wasn't responsible for the sideshow that took place during her interview. She didn't create any of this and yet she's faced more heat from Black America than the man at the center of the story. We shouldn't be so quick to kick someone when they are down, but we shouldn't reflexively defend Blackness to the detriment of other Black people.

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