Unfortunately as of today the 18th of this month Kobe Bryant has been removed from the Animation Is Film Festival jury following protests over his 2003 rape allegation, according to Variety, one of the sponsors of the event.
“After discussions with the various stakeholders of Animation Is Film, the decision has been made to remove Kobe Bryant from the 2018 jury,” said Eric Beckman, CEO of GKIDS, which produces 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.”
Bryant was scheduled to serve on the jury before a change.org petition titled “Remove Sexual Predator Kobe Bryant from ‘Animation Is Film’ Festival Jury” was posted.
“This is an urgent time to say NO to toxic and violent behavior against women. For this reason, we ask that GKIDS, Variety & Annecy take a stand in support of women. Keeping Kobe Bryant on the jury sets a precedent of lenience for sexual criminals and further undermines the visibility and respect that victims of harassment and assault deserve.”
Bryant, who played his last NBA game in 2016, won an Oscar in March for his animated short film, “Dear Basketball.”
In a statement, Bryant said he was disappointed to no longer serve on the jury. “This decision further motivates me and my commitment to building a studio that focuses on diversity and inclusion in storytelling for the animation industry,” he said. “I remain focused on changing the world in positive ways through diverse stories, characters, and leadership, in order to inspire the next generation.”
Date has been finalized for the festival to take place by the weekend at Los Angeles.