Kobe Bryant Won an Oscar and Twitter Is Not Happy
The former NBA star won the Best Animated Short for Dear Basketball, but many people have pointed out the incongruence of honouring Bryant at an event that claimed to support survivors of sexual assault and the Time's Up and #MeToo movements.
Bryant was notoriously accused of sexual assault by a 19-year-old woman in 2003, but the case was eventually dismissed from court when the accuser refused to testify at trial.
Despite initially denying the allegations, Bryant did issue a public apology in 2004. It read: "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 same accuser later filed a separate civil lawsuit against Bryant, and the two parties then settled the suit privately.
A petition was recently started, urging the Academy to revoke Bryant's nomination — though the more than 16,000 signatures were clearly not enough to reverse the decision or deter voters.
The allegations have not been forgotten by many Oscar viewers, though, as demonstrated on Twitter last night.
See some of the reaction to Bryant's Oscar win below.
people say that rape allegations will ruin a man's life but here is Kobe winning an Oscar in front of my own eyes— Aminatou Sow (@aminatou) March 5, 2018
I think Kobe Bryant is an amazing basketball player. I also think he raped that girl and got away with it because he's an amazing basketball player.— Brenda Tracy (@brendatracy24) March 5, 2018
Both things can exist as the truth.
Kobe Bryant was accused of brutally raping a young woman. Unlike most of the men accused in Hollywood, he was actually arrested and charged.— David Hookstead (@dhookstead) March 5, 2018
Last night, Bryant was honored and celebrated at the #Oscars. Why is the #MeToo movement silent? https://t.co/aK9XgOu0CN
Let me get this straight. Last night's theme was all about treating women with respect. So who wins an #Oscar2018? @kobebryant, who was credibly accused of rape, paid the accuser a settlement and issued her a written apology! Can't make this up?— Larry Elder (@larryelder) March 5, 2018
I'm saddened by the hypocrisy of the #Oscars as they promoted and awarded several men accused of harassment and assault, such as Ryan Seacrest, Kobe Bryant and Gary Oldman. Whilst time may be UP for some men, clearly it isn't up for ALL. Hollywood still has far to go. #TIMESUP ✋— Em. (@EmilyBashforth) March 5, 2018
Only in Hollywood, where you can have an #Oscars theme all about the #MeToo movement & simultaneously give an award to Kobe Bryant, who paid a settlement, & apologized in a rape case against him.— Lisa Smith (@lsmith4680) March 5, 2018
Tinsel town is a nothing but a bunch of overpaid, big mouth hypocrites! pic.twitter.com/KnJZqo22Cs
In the lead-up to the 90th Academy Awards, Harvey Weinstein was expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, following last year's bombshell allegations of sexual misconduct.
Sexual misconduct allegations also surfaced against James Franco after the Golden Globes, and he was subsequently absent from this year's nominations, despite early Oscar buzz for the Disaster Artist.
Woody Allen was also left off the list of this year's nominees in the wake of a year that heard Dylan Farrow bringing her decades-old allegations of sexual abuse against the director back into the public eye.