Amanda Knox, which aired Tuesday night, is getting some unexpected attention from critics. Wednesday, Gawker likened Chris Cuomo's sit-down with Knox to sexual harassment, calling his aggressive line of questioning about what he repeatedly called her "freaky" personal sex life. (You can watch an excerpt of the interview here or watch it in its entirety when it's rebroadcast on Saturday night.)
On Thursday, after a barrage of negative viewer feedback on Twitter, a CNN spokesperson defended the interview, telling Yahoo! Shine, “In this interview, Cuomo wanted to give Knox the opportunity to speak to the prosecution’s theories. He asked tough questions that reflected those of the prosecution, not his own ideas or beliefs. We encourage people to read the full transcript and watch the entire interview for full context.”
But an inside source at Harper Collins, where Knox's book was published, had a very different take. Apparently, some folks involved with the book felt the interview was “absolutely over the top,” and that Cuomo “was bullying her,” a source tells Yahoo! Shine.
Bloggers also didn’t mince words. Think Progress accuses him of “bullying” Knox, and U.S. New and World Report blogger Susan Milligan writes that, “sounding less like a journalist and more like a detective in an old ‘Law and Order’ episode trying to berate a witness into breaking down in a tearful confession, Cuomo harassed Knox.” Gawker notes, “It appeared that Cuomo felt he had been hired by the morality polizia to interrogate Knox about her role as a sexfun badgirl.”
Knox, whose 2009 conviction of assaulting and murdering her roommate, Meredith Kercher, in Perugia, Italy, was overturned in 2011 and then reversed in March, had appeared on CNN as part of her book tour.
Knox’s book publicist, Harper Collins’s senior vice president of publicity Tina Andreadis, told Yahoo! Shine that the interview was definitely “intense” for her young client. “But,” she added, “she walked away feeling she answered every question that could have possibly been answered.” When asked about how she and Knox felt about Cuomo’s demeanor, Andreadis would not comment.
At least one supporter of CNN, Gossip Cop, is firing back at criticism with claims that the toughest questions from the “respected news man” are being taken out of context and “twisted” unfairly.
“What’s MISSING,” the blog explains, “is that Cuomo acknowledged that he had to ask some ‘insensitive’ questions, and that it was not him speaking, but as he said during the riveting interview, ‘The real proposition here is prosecutors believe this happened because you were sexual deviant… This is their theory, that you went in there for some kind of freaky sexual activity that went wrong and your roommate wound up dying.’”
Of course, it’s hardly surprising that emotions are running high in defense of Knox, who was dubbed “Foxy Knoxy” early on by tabloids, and whose prosecutors portrayed the alleged crime as a botched Satanic sex ritual. In the years since her arrest, Knox has become favorite fodder for the press, which seems to derive unending pleasure from her role as young and pretty femme fatal.
So, have Cuomo’s interview questions been taken out of context this time around? Perhaps. But what else did CNN expect to happen with a 90-minute interview? People watch things online, in snippets. And then they make conclusions. And they write about them. So was it a smart idea for CNN to hand the Knox interview off to the aggressive, macho Cuomo, in light of how she’s been questioned in the past? No, definitely not.