Kobe Bryant can cross one event off his calendar.
The NBA star has been removed from the jury of the Animation Is Film Festival. “After discussions with the various stakeholders of Animation Is Film, the decision has been made to remove Kobe Bryant from the 2018 jury,” CEO of GKIDS 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,” Beckman continued, according to the Associated Press.
The decision was made after a petition circulated online, calling for Bryant to be removed over a 2003 rape allegation against him. The NBA star was charged with raping a 19-year-old hotel employee but the case was dropped after the accuser failed to testify. The alleged victim later filed a civil suit that was settled out of court.
Bryant won an Oscar for his role in the animated short “Dear Basketball” — a move that was also criticized — and has founded an animation company called Granity Studios.
The 40-year-old athlete addressed his rescinded invitation in a statement.
“This decision further motivates me and my commitment to building a studio that focuses on diversity and inclusion in storytelling for the animation industry,” Bryant said. “I remain focused on changing the world in positive ways through diverse stories, characters, and leadership, in order to inspire the next generation.”
Animation Is Film takes place Oct. 19 to Oct. 21 in Los Angeles.