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Gayle King’s Hilarious Way of Dealing With Social Media Trolls

"It's Gayle King. I got your message."

To kick off Season Two of The Thrive Global Podcast with iHeart Radio, Thrive Global founder and CEO Arianna Huffington sat down with CBS This Morning co-host, O Magazine editor-at-large and media icon Gayle King. In a wide-ranging conversation, Huffington and King spoke about everything from King’s social media habits and morning routine to self-acceptance and the possibility of an Oprah presidential run.

King explained that with social media, it’s easy to let yourself focus on the negative.

“You can get 100 great compliments, and you get that one cranky yankee, and that’s the one that stands out,” she said. “Now what is it about this one person, that doesn’t know you, that’s sitting at home in their underwear—I visualize them—just saying nasty stuff about you?”

From time to time, King said she has taken an unusually direct approach to her social media haters: finding their phone numbers and calling them up.

“Hi, it’s Gayle King,” she says. “I got your message.”

Most of the time, the offending party will try to make excuses. But as King explains, she doesn’t let them off the hook easily, saying, “Nope, that’s not what you said. So I’m calling you to have a little chat about that.” If someone replies, “Oh, I was just in a bad mood. You know I love you,” King might reply, “Not feeling the love.”

King has a variety of retorts for her haters, such as, “Does your mother know you talk like that?” or “I guess we’re not having lunch,” or simply, “Thanks for the kind words.”

She has previously said that meanness and pettiness are the two qualities she dislikes most in others, and Huffington pointed out that those two words are “a pretty good description of what a lot of online life is like.”

King believes that the anonymity of social media fuels such hostility. “This is what social media does. It allows people to say the most vile, nasty things, with no accountability. And there’s something wrong about that,” she said. “They put it out there for everybody to see.”

King said she had reached out to people who left upsetting social media comments as recently as last year, but in 2018 she is trying to focus less on such negativity.

“Now I realize you just can’t do that. I’m not going to be consumed by people that think negatively of [me],” she said. “You just have to let it go. There’s always gonna be a negative nancy against you. Always.”

To hear the full conversation, click here.

You can also listen to the Thrive Global podcast internationally for free on iTunes and Stitcher.

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