It’s been a rough week for Gayle King. The social media streets have been littered with reported death threats and misogynistic attacks on the veteran journalist since CBS dropped the controversial clip of King asking Lisa Leslie about Kobe Bryant’s 2003 sexual assault case.

Despite a mounting amount of backlash from celebrities and fans alike, journalist and author Ta-Nehisi Coates took to Instagram Sunday to support King and check those who failed to respectfully agree to disagree with King’s line of questioning.

In a lengthy caption, Coates started by recalling how when he first met King, she had a well-worn copy of his book, complete with dog-ears and Post-It notes. He was impressed because King was unlike many journalists he had spoken to while on his press tour.

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When I first met @gayleking she was hurrying off set and into the green room with a copy of my book. Post-its were poking out of the pages. Pages were dog-eared. I seem to remember her having questions scrawled on yellow legal paper. This was impressive. You’d be surprised how many interviewers are just master bullshit artists. Not Gayle. She reads. She studies. She prepares. I’ve benefited from Gayle’s preparation multiple times since that first interview. I’m trying to think of another journalist more instrumental in whatever awareness people have of my work, and I can’t. I say this as a black writer. I say this as a black man. It is perhaps naive to expect black men to be better—oppression is always demeaning and rarely ennobling. But black men, perhaps more than other men, have some inkling of what it’s like to have a body that can be taken for someone else’s pleasure. Indeed, we know more than we want to say, because if we ever said it all we might never stop crying. Maybe that really is the root of this. It’s certainly not about “protecting” anyone’s memory or their families. Men who want to hurt have been using the language of “protection” all my life. It’s certainly isn’t about Weinstein. Only a fool tolerates serial killing because Ted Bundy was once a neighbor. Whatever it’s about, there’s really no way to be neutral here. Gayle King dared speak of a man as though he were one, and a lot of us fucking lost it. We did not calmly express our dislike of the question. We were too weak for that. We threatened. We dragged. And we attacked. A friend, watching all this said, “damn, Gayle has a son.” To which I could only respond, “these dudes have sons too.” And this is what we’re teaching them. It’s wrong. We should want more. We should be better.

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“You’d be surprised how many interviewers are just master bullshit artists. Not Gayle. She reads. She studies. She prepares. I’ve benefited from Gayle’s preparation multiple times since that first interview,” he wrote. “I’m trying to think of another journalist more instrumental in whatever awareness people have of my work, and I can’t. I say this as a Black writer. I say this as a Black man.”

Then the award-winning author went on to challenge Black men and others who’ve collectively dragged King, while claiming their antics were in an effort to protect Bryant’s memory and his family.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 17: Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant attend a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Atlanta Hawks at Staples Center on November 17, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)

Bryant along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna died in a fatal helicopter crash on January 26 in Calabasas, California.

Coates didn’t by any of it.

The National Book Award winner countered, “Gayle King dared speak of a man as though he were one, and a lot of us f-cking lost it. We did not calmly express our dislike of the question. We were too weak for that. We threatened. We dragged. And we attacked.”

He ended his post by saying, “We should want more. We should be better.”

Coates wasn’t the only one to stick up for King. #IStandWithGayle started trending on Twitter as journalists and celebrities began to rally around the CBS anchor.

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