Charles Barkley CNN Show Faces Backlash for Remarks on Black Trump Voters

Charles Barkley sparks controversy with recent political remarks.

by Nouman Rasool
Charles Barkley CNN Show Faces Backlash for Remarks on Black Trump Voters
© Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images for The Match

Charles Barkley, the former NBA legend, has recently stirred controversy with his prime-time CNN show, "King Charles," co-hosted with Gayle King. Since its debut in November, the program has struggled to captivate an audience, with viewership numbers dwindling to an average of just 457,000 total viewers this past Wednesday, significantly below expectations for the network.

"King Charles" has largely flown under the radar, failing to make significant waves in the media landscape. However, the show found itself at the center of controversy following Barkley's contentious remarks about Black supporters of former President Donald Trump during a special Saturday broadcast.

Barkley provocatively stated he would physically confront any Black individual he saw wearing Trump-related paraphernalia, a comment that quickly sparked backlash.

Barkley's Bold Critique

The comment came in response to Trump's assertion that he has garnered increased support among Black voters, despite facing numerous indictments.

Barkley criticized the comparison of Trump's legal troubles with the systemic challenges faced by Black Americans within the judicial system, labeling Black Trump supporters wearing the former president's mugshot on clothing as "freaking idiots." Despite walking back his threat of violence, Barkley remained firm in his criticism, expressing frustration with the portrayal of Black support for Trump.

Gayle King intervened during the controversial moment, attempting to moderate Barkley's comments, later humorously noting that Barkley wouldn't be engaging in street altercations, barring the sight of Trump sneakers. The show, a creative venture by the now-ousted CNN executive Chris Licht, aimed to offer a fresh format by focusing on cultural discussions rather than purely political content.

Despite featuring high-profile guests from various fields, "King Charles" has struggled to resonate with a broader audience, reflecting the challenges CNN faces in revitalizing its programming. Licht's ambitious project sought to leverage Barkley and King's dynamic presence, hoping to draw viewers with their candid discussions and varied guest lineup.

However, the show's inability to break through the crowded media landscape highlights the ongoing struggle for networks to capture and maintain viewer interest in an era of fragmented media consumption.

Charles Barkley