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Kobe Bryant was scheduled to be on the Animation is Film Festival jury, which will be held this weekend.

By Charlotte Carroll
October 17, 2018

Kobe Bryant was dropped from the Animation Is Film Festival jury after his involvement sparked online protest regarding the allegations that he raped a woman his 2003, Variety reports.

Bryant won an Academy Award for his animated short film Dear Basketball. The film was scheduled to be on the jury for this weekend's festival.

"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. "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."

Variety is one of the sponsors of the event.

Bryant issued the following statement:

"I was honored to have been originally invited by Animation is Film to serve on the 2018 Jury, and am disappointed to no longer serve in that capacity. This decision further motivates me and my commitment to building a studio that focuses on diversity and inclusion in storytelling for the animation industry. I remain focused on changing the world in positive ways through diverse stories, characters, and leadership, in order to inspire the next generation."

A petition on Change.org was posted last week that urged the festival to remove Bryant from the event. It stated, "This is an urgent time to say NO to toxic and violent behavior against 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 was arrested in 2003 and charged with sexual assault after a 19-year-old Colorado hotel employee alleged she was raped by Bryant. The charges were dropped after his accuser refused to testify in the case. Bryant maintained it was consensual and issued a public apology when the criminal case against him ended.

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