While kobe and fans were felicitating Kobe Bryant’s very first Academy Award win after the sports icon took home the prize for Best Animated Short Film for his Dear Basketball, there were also people criticizing the Academy’s choice to award a star once accused with sexual assault allegations in the midst of the era of #MeToo and the Time’s Up movement.
Back in 2003 that a then-24-year-old Kobe Bryant was accused of sexual assault by a 19-year old hotel employee. Bryant would be arrested and brought up on felony charges attached to the case that was later dropped after his accuser refused to testify in court.
Soon after, he would release a statement in which he apologized for any harm he may have unknowingly brought upon the young girl. “Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did. After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney, and even her testimony in person, I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter.” The case was eventually settled in a civil suit.
Years later, that statement haunts Bryant as a perceived admittance of culpability and has made what some are calling another indication toward the five-time NBA champion’s GOAT status instead another criticism of Hollywood’s failed attempts at full-on solidarity with the fight against ongoing sexual assault and harassment in the realm of entertainment.
Check out reactions on twitter to Bryant’s win;
— LeBron James (@KingJames) March 5, 2018
So Harvey Weinstein gets kicked out of Hollywood and Kobe Bryant gets two jerseys retired and wins an Oscar in the same #metoo year. Simply amazing.
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) March 5, 2018
I mean Kobe couldn’t be anymore of a lej. Good night!
— Hailey Baldwin (@haileybaldwin) March 5, 2018
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) March 5, 2018
Congratulations to my good friend @kobebryant for winning the Oscar for best animated short film. Well deserved!
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) March 5, 2018
Give it up for Gary Oldman and Kobe Bryant, for proving that men with domestic violence or sexual assault accusations can still accomplish anything. #Oscars
— Jena Friedman (@JenaFriedman) March 5, 2018