Fox News devoted some time on Wednesday afternoon to the lauded R. Kelly interview that aired on CBS This Morning. During the interview, Kelly lashed out dramatically at his interviewer, Gayle King, screaming and pounding his fists, as she asked him pointed questions about the sexual abuse allegations he is currently facing, and those he has faced in the past.
Through the entire encounter, King remained calm in the face of rage and the possibility of physical harm – leaving viewers in awe of her composure.
It didn’t go unnoticed at Fox. But the moment was short-lived when it became clear Jesse Watters didn’t know which interviewer he was praising.
Here’s the exchange on The Five (video):
Jesse Watters: Hats off to Gayle King, for totally redeeming herself after the [Jussie] Smollett fiasco.
Juan Williams: Janet, I, you know…
Dana Perino: That was not Gayle King.
Watters: Oh. I knew that.
Perino: Robin Roberts did the Smollett interview.
Williams: One of the things that I think lots of people…
Watters: Sorry for Robin Roberts out there.
Williams: Go right ahead, Jesse. It’s cool.
Watters: I apologize.
Robin Roberts faced criticism after her interview with Jussie Smollett on Feb. 14 about the alleged hate crime committed against him. The interview aired on ABC’s Good Morning America in the final days prior to his arrest for filing a false police report.
The interview was Smollett’s first detailed public account of the alleged attack.
“I will never be the man that this did not happen to,” he told Roberts. “I am forever changed,”
At the time, police said Smollett, who is black and openly gay, was assaulted around 2 a.m. on Jan. 29 by two “unknown offenders” who yelled racial and homophobic slurs, poured an unknown chemical substance on the actor and wrapped a rope around his neck.
One day after the interview aired, police announced they had interviewed two persons of interest who had “shifted the trajectory of the investigation.” On Feb. 21, Smollett was arrested and charged with falsifying a police report. Police said he concocted the story of a hate crime because he was “dissatisfied with his salary” for his work on “Empire,” and that he paid the two men $3,500 to stage the attack after the threatening letter – which police suspect Smollett sent to himself at the Cinespace Chicago Film Studios – failed to attract attention.
Roberts later spoke about the hesitation she felt before that interview, noting she had doubts as to whether she should do it in the first place.
Roberts called her position a “no-win” situation.