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Gayle King Calls Oprah's School Abuse Allegations 'Heart Wrenching'

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Mathew Imaging/FilmMagic

Gayle King – Oprah Winfrey‘s best friend and a partner in the $46 million endeavor to provide education to underprivileged girls – says the two have taken a hands-on approach to investigating possible staff improprieties at the boarding school in Henley-on-Klip, south of Johannesburg.

“We’re definitely working on it,” King told PEOPLE on Monday as she entered the G&P Cancer Research Foundation Angel Ball in New York City. “There is still an investigation. We’re trying to figure out what is real and what isn’t.”

Students have reportedly accused multiple school employees at the South African Leadership Academy of physical and verbal abuse – allegations which Winfrey tearfully addressed Monday.

“It’s just heart wrenching that the situation even happened. It really is,” said King, adding that the two traveled to the school twice in one week. In fact, “Heart wrenching doesn’t do it justice,” she said.