"The Animation Is Film Festival" was forced to remove Kobe Bryant due to an outcry of online protests.
Kobe Bryant has been dropped from the jury of a forthcoming film festival due to his 2003 rape allegations. According to Variety, The Animation Is Film Festival following an online protest filed by patrons of the gala event.
Bryant who became the first NBA talent to win an Oscar for his directorial work on an animated short titled Dear Basketball will be held off the panel for the event which is to be held at the TCL Chinese Theatres on Hollywood Boulevard.
Eric Beckman, CEO of GKIDS, the company responsible for holding the gala, has issued a statement regarding Kobe Bryant's dismissal from the panel:
After discussions with the various stakeholders of Animation Is Film, the decision has been made to remove Kobe Bryant from the 2018 jury. 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," explained Beckman.
An online petition published on Change.org started making rounds last week, urging people in the arts, as well as patrons, to make a stand against "toxic, violent behavior towards women." Kobe was arrested in 2003 for sexually assaulting an employee at a hotel-spa in Colorado. She later refused to testify against Bryant, so the charges were inevitably dropped. Kobe Bryant has since apologized to her publicity for what transpired.