“Oscar winner Kobe Bryant” became a fact last night when he and animator Glen Keane won the Oscar for Best Animated Short for Dear Basketball, which was based on a poem he wrote about retiring. Many in the audience cheered and clapped for their Los Angeles basketball God winning an Oscar, but not everyone was using their hands to praise Kobe. Some were using their hands to sign a petition asking the Academy to take away his Oscar. And I was using my hands to scratch my head over Kobe Bryant having more Oscars than Gina Gershon (who should’ve gotten several for Showgirls), Glenn Close and the finale fly in Call Me By Your Name.
Because it’s the era of Time’s Up, old allegations against some of the nominees (like Gary Oldman) came back up. But while some careers have ate shit due to allegations, some haven’t. Case in point: Kobe Bryant. Kobe was charged with sexual assault in 2003 after a 19-year-old woman went to the police the day after she says he raped her in a room at the hotel she worked at in Edwards, Colorado. ThinkProgress did a detailed piece on it, and they say the alleged victim went through it with the media, and Kobe’s lawyer Pamela Mackey said her name in hearings and victim-blamed the hell out of her. Days before the trial was supposed to begin, the alleged victim decided she didn’t want to testify. Charges were dropped. She later sued Kobe in civil court and it was settled. Kobe said in a statement at the time that he believed they had consensual sex, but after listening to her testimony, he understood “how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter.”
The rape allegation against Kobe barely left a scratch on his life. His career and bank accounts got bigger. (Although, his bank accounts did take a small hit, because he lost a couple of endorsements and bought his wife Vanessa Bryant a $4 million “sorry I cheated on you and got accused of rape” diamond ring.) And now he’s an Oscar winner!
“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.”
The petition is currently close to meeting its goal of 17,000 signatures, and once it gets there, Kelsey will send it to the Academy. And I’m sure that when the Academy gets that petition, they will subtly cover up their Time’s Up pins and “accidentally” drop it into the shredder. Obviously, being an accused rapist didn’t hurt Kobe when it came to winning the Oscar, and well, it may have helped him. I mean, Roman Polanski and Bill Cosby are still Academy members.