Kobe Bryant is currently feeling the wrath of the #MeToo movement. After rape allegations dating back to 2003 have resurfaced, the sports superstar and Oscar-winner was officially uninvited to serve on the jury of the Animation Is Film Festival in Los Angeles.
According to a report from Yahoo!, Bryant was scheduled to serve on the jury of the festival over the weekend, but his invitation was rescinded after a petition called for him to be removed from the position.
This is an urgent time to say NO to toxic and violent behavior against women.”
The CEO of GKIDS, Eric Beckman, did comment on the situation and seemed determined to keep his concern with his organization, rather than getting caught up in a controversy for a fairly new organization.
We are a young organization and it is important to keep our collective energies focused on the films, the participating filmmakers, and our festival attendees.”
Kobe Bryant also released a statement in regard to the decision to part ways, but he declined to discuss the accusations themselves.
This decision further motivates me and my commitment to building a studio that focuses on diversity and inclusion in storytelling for the animation industry. I remain focused on changing the world in positive ways through diverse stories, characters, and leadership, in order to inspire the next generation.”
Kobe Bryant won an Academy Award earlier this year for his short film “Dear Basketball.” Although the Academy was quick to condemn other filmmakers caught up in allegations of sexual assault, removing Harvey Weinstein altogether, they let Kobe Bryant slip by relatively unscathed.
Harvey Weinstein was eventually charged with rape by a court of law, while Kobe Bryant was charged with sexual assault in 2003, with those charges eventually dropped. In September of 2004, Bryant issued an apology to his accuser as part of the dismissal of the case.
He maintains the encounter was adulterous but consensual.
However, he also said that although he feels the encounter was consensual, he can understand why his accuser did not, and that he understands why she came to the conclusion she did.
Kobe Bryant could be joining the ranks of Louis C.K., Kevin Spacey, Bill Cosby, Morgan Freeman, and Chris Hardwick, among other famous names who have had their careers and reputations downgraded after allegations of sexual misconduct amid the Me Too movement.
Kobe Bryant is 40-years-old and played in the NBA for the Los Angeles Lakers from 1996 until 2016. He has won two Olympic gold medals.