Kobe Bryant may be riding high after his win at the Academy Awards, but many viewers took issue with his win Sunday night.
Bryant took home the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film at the 90th Annual Academy Awards after serving as an executive producer on a film based on his retirement letter to The Player’s Tribune, Dear Basketball.
However, Kobe’s win comes at the same time as the Time’s Up movement and fans haven’t forgotten his 2003 sexual assault.
Bryant was arrested in July 2003 after a 19-year-old hotel employee accused the former NBA player of rape. Bryant alleged that the two had a consensual encounter, saying in a statement, “Although I truly believe this encounter was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did.”
The criminal case was later dropped after Bryant’s accuser was unwilling to testify. The pair settled a civil lawsuit out of court in 2005.
Oscar viewers were quick to notice that Hollywood’s Time’s Up movement did not deter the Academy from awarding Bryant. They took to Twitter to call out the hypocrisy and the former basketball player.
Still, a petition created in January following Bryant’s Oscar nomination is also making the rounds on the internet. More than 16,000 people have signed it, with creator Kelsey Bourgeois explaining to Broadly, “He settled with his accuser. So in my mind, that doesn’t really make him innocent — it just makes him able to pay off someone who he wronged. I, of course, couldn’t possibly know what actually happened. But we have to believe women, especially when they accuse men who are typically ‘above the law,’ so to speak.”
You may like
Get The Essence Newsletter and Special Offers delivered to your inbox!