But on Sunday night, Kobe Bryant won an Oscar for the short animated film he wrote and narrated, “Dear Basketball.” Bryant was arrested and charged with sexual assault in 2003, when a 19-year-old hotel employee in Colorado accused him of rape. The accuser told authorities that she was assaulted while he was staying at the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera. “She said he then grabbed her by the neck, bent her over a chair and violated her as she cried and protested,” wrote Sylvia Moreno for The Washington Post in 2004. Bryant claimed that the sex was consensual, and he publicly apologized to his wife, Vanessa.
Bryant settled a separate civil case for a sum that wasn’t disclosed. His reputation was harmed, as he lost sponsors and endorsements — but there seems to have been enough distance between the allegations and the current #MeToo movement that Bryant has not been lumped in with all of the other men accused of sexual misconduct in the past few months.
On Twitter, people were eager to point out the discrepancy.
The film, directed by Glen Keane, is based on Bryant’s love letter to basketball, written when he announced his retirement from the NBA.
“It’s a message for all of us, whatever form your dream may take, it’s through passion and perseverance that the impossible is possible,” Keane said, as he introduced Bryant in his acceptance speech.
Backstage, Bryant compared winning an Oscar to his basketball accomplishments. “I feel better than winning a championship, to be honest with you,” he said.