Kobe Bryant finally did not form this team. The former NBA player was removed from the Animation Film Festival jury after an online protest for a rape charge in 2003, Variety reported Wednesday. The entertainment trade is one of the sponsors of the event.
Bryant, who won an Oscar this year for his animated short "Dear Basketball," was in charge of presiding over the Los Angeles meeting this weekend before the Change.org petition appeared last week entitled "Remove Sexual Predator Kobe Bryant. of & # 39; Animation Is Film & # 39; s Festival Jury. "The post urged the festival to fulfill its promise to be a champion of filmmakers in the Me Too era.
"Keeping Kobe Bryant on the jury establishes a precedent of leniency for sex offenders and further undermines the visibility and respect that victims of harassment and assault deserve," the statement said.
Although the petition had been signed by a few hundred people until Thursday morning, it apparently had an impact.
"After the discussions with the various actors of Animation Is Film, the decision was made to remove Kobe Bryant from the 2018 jury," said Eric Beckman, CEO of GKIDS, the producer of the event. "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."
The organizer of the petition said in an update that the festival had removed Bryant's name on Friday.
Bryant tried to put a positive spin on the matter.
"This decision motivates me even more and I am committed to building a studio that focuses on diversity and inclusion in storytelling for the animation industry," he said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. "I remain focused on changing the world in a positive way through various stories, characters and leadership, to inspire the next generation."
The then Laker was charged with sexual assault and false imprisonment for an incident in a Colorado hotel room in 2003. The case was eventually dropped after Bryant's accuser failed to testify. In a public apology to the woman, Bryant said she believed sex was consensual. Later, he settled a civil lawsuit with her for an undisclosed amount.
"Dear Basketball," released in 2017, was distributed on Verizon's Go90 video platform, which closed the summer after its Oscar win. (Verizon owns the parent company of HuffPost, Oath).