Kobe Bryant apparently wins on and off the court. Following his win for Best Animated Short during the 90th Academy Awards, these tweets about Kobe Bryant winning an Oscar show that a lot of people are not pleased with this particular victory. And if you recall why he was in the news in 2003, you probably already know why.
Bryant, along with director Glen Keane, won the Oscar for Best Animated Short for Dear Basketball. While this may be an exciting time for the now-retired basketball star, many are noting the immense contradiction Bryant's win means for movements such as #MeToo and Time's Up.
In 2003, Bryant was accused of rape by an employee of a mountain resort in Eagle County, Colorado, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. Despite the allegation, the case never made it to court, as the criminal charges were dropped once the accuser decided not to testify, according to the New York Times. The accuser then filed a civil suit against Bryant, which was settled out of court on March 2, 2005. Once the case was dismissed, Kobe issued a statement not admitting guilt, but apologizing for the hardship both he and his accuser went through and acknowledging that though he thought their encounter was consensual, "she does not view this incident the same way I did."
According to The Nation, Bryant's full statement read,
First, I want to apologize directly to the young woman involved in this incident. I want to apologize to her for my behavior that night and for the consequences she has suffered in the past year. Although this year has been incredibly difficult for me personally, I can only imagine the pain she has had to endure. I also want to apologize to her parents and family members, and to my family and friends and supporters, and to the citizens of Eagle, Colorado. I also want to make it clear that I do not question the motives of this young woman. No money has been paid to this woman. She has agreed that this statement will not be used against me in the civil case. 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. I issue this statement today fully aware that while one part of this case ends today, another remains. I understand that the civil case against me will go forward. That part of this case will be decided by and between the parties directly involved in the incident and will no longer be a financial or emotional drain on the citizens of the state of Colorado.
All of this hasn't been forgotten by many of the people who were watching the Oscars and took to Twitter to express their disappointment in Bryant's nomination and win.
While many may be upset, others are not so surprised at Bryant's win. On Feb. 28 Variety reported their Oscar predictions, stating that they expected Bryant to take home the Oscar for Best Animated Short.
On March 2, Broadly reported that a petition surfaced asking for Bryant's Oscar nomination to be rescinded due to his past rape allegations. As of 10:22 p.m ET on March 4, the petition has 16,258 signatures of the asked 17,000. In the petition's description, its creator Kelsey B. asks for the Academy to take away Bryant's nomination.
"The Oscars almost avoided nominating sexual predators for awards. Woody Allen and James Franco didn't get anything. But Kobe Bryant, who was charged with a horrific sexual assault, was nominated," the petition reads. "An important conversation has been started about sexual assault and harassment, so why is Bryant being honored for best animated short if Time really is Up?"
Even with moments like this that can feel like setbacks, the Time's Up mission is still as important as ever, so click here to find out how you can get involved.