The animated film festival cancels Kobe Bryant's invitation after the protest

adminOctober 18, 2018

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Kobe Bryant retired Wednesday from the jury of an animated film festival after calls for the ex-NBA star's expulsion for a 2003 rape.

Eric Beckman, CEO of GKIDS, the company that organizes the Animation Is Film Festival, announced the move.

"After discussions with the various actors of Animation Is Film, the decision was made to remove Kobe Bryant from the 2018 jury, Beckman said in a statement." 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. "

An online petition had been circulating demanding that Bryant be abandoned.

Bryant won an Academy Award in March for his part in the making of the animated short film "Dear Basketball" and has founded an animation company, Granity Studios.

He issued a statement saying that he was honored to be invited and disappointed to be excluded.

"This decision motivates me even more and my commitment to building a studio that focuses on diversity and inclusion in storytelling for the animation industry," said Bryant's statement. "I remain focused on changing the world in a positive way through various stories, characters and leadership, to inspire the next generation."

In 2003, Bryant was accused of raping a 19-year-old hotel employee.

The Lakers star said he believed it was a consensual sexual encounter. The case was abandoned after Bryant's accuser refused to testify.

Later, he filed a civil lawsuit against him, which was settled out of court and Bryant did not admit guilt.

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