LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Former NBA star turned Oscar-winning filmmaker Kobe Bryant expressed disappointment on Wednesday after being removed from the jury of an animation film festival because of his 2003 rape case.
Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers icon who won an Academy Award this year for his animated short film ‘‘Dear Basketball’’, was dumped from the Animation Is Film Festival after an online petition protesting his involvement.
‘‘After discussions with the various stakeholders of Animation Is Film, the decision has been made to remove Kobe Bryant from the 2018 jury,’’ festival founder Eric Beckman 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.’’
Bryant’s removal from the event came after a petition emerged last week calling on festival organizers and sponsors to drop the athlete.