Kobe Bryant has been removed from the Animation Is Film Festival jury following backlash stemming from a 2003 rape allegation. Though the former L.A. Lakers star was set to serve as a juror at the annual event this weekend in Hollywood, organizers announced on Wednesday that he will no longer participate.
"After discussions with the various stakeholders of Animation Is Film, the decision has been made to remove Kobe Bryant from the 2018 jury," Eric Beckman, founder of the festival and CEO of GKIDS, said in a statement. "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."
Last week, a petition was created on Change.org for Bryant — who won an Oscar for his 2017 short Dear Basketball — to be removed from the roster of jurors due to an accusation of sexual assault made against him in the past.