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After over three decades in the journalism, Gayle King caught the attention of many on Wednesday after holding her composure while interviewing R. Kelly during his difficult and bizarre outburst.
King began her news career in Baltimore where she met her longtime bestie Oprah Winfrey. She has worked in the industry since the 1970’s and has now carved a lane of her own.
King is reportedly in the midst of a contract renegotiation, and has asked to be paid on the same level as another morning news heavyweight, George Stephanopoulos, Page Six reports. King has one year left in her contract, with a salary estimate of $6 million a year, according to the outlet.
“Gayle is holding the show together, she wants George money — he got between $15 and $18 million to stay on at ABC,” a source told the outlet.
The news comes as CBS sustained a mountain of controversy in the wake of the #MeToo movement, after the firing of celebrated journalist Charlie Rose and CBS executive Les Moonves. Both incidents hit close to home for King, who was allegedly ready to leave the network amidst the drama.
While the negotiations will remain sealed, King surely deserves more coin for her work and dedication to a difficult industry where many Black women are ousted from holding anchor positions. And when it comes to pay equity, Black women are rarely given their true worth.
On Friday, CBS will air the full two-part interview with R. Kelly and his two girlfriends, Azriel Clay and Joycelyn Savage, while the singer faces damning charges, 10 to be exact, of aggravated sexual abuse.
King’s Instagram photo which shows Kelly towering over her, mid-rant, served as a strong lead up to the interview. Many of King’s loved ones including Oprah, inquired about her safety.
King told O, The Oprah Magazine about her experience: “I was not scared. I never thought he was going to hit me. After, Oprah and my kids Kirby and Will called me to ask if I was okay because it looked scary. But I was never worried he was going to hurt me. I was more worried that he was going to get up and leave.”
“So what I was really thinking to myself was: I’m not done with this interview, so I’m going to let him have his moment. If I stood up even to comfort him, that could have been his invitation to say, ‘This is over.’ So I didn’t interrupt his anger and let him have that,” she said.
“I just knew that I was never in danger. I did worry at some points that he might accidentally hit me, because he was so angry that he was flailing. But I knew that I wasn’t in any real danger. I just kept thinking, ‘Okay, Robert, go ahead’ and that’s what I said.”
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