When news caught on that one of the greatest basketball players of all time, Kobe Bryant – along with 13-year-old daughter Gianna, six family friends, and the pilot – had passed away in a fatal helicopter accident, the world mourned. Family, friends, celebrities and fans alike shared tributes to the five-time NBA championship winner; most of these stories were heartwarming anecdotes that lauded him for his monumental 20-year career and famously driven and passionate personality. However, amidst the celebration of his life, were tweets that called up a controversial time in his life.
At the time of his passing, ‘Westworld’ actress Evan Rachel Wood and documentary producer Abigail Disney had tweeted about his passing while referring to him as a rapist. In her tweet (which is no longer available as her account has been deleted), Wood’s had said:
“What has happened was tragic. I am heartbroken for Kobe’s family. He was a sports hero. He was also a rapist. And all of these truths can exist simultaneously.”
Taking to her Instagram profile, Vanessa Bryant went on to post screen grabs of both Woods and Disney’s tweets, calling them “vile” and slanderous”.
Bryant slammed their lack of knowledge of the case, for “false, insensitive and defamatory” tweets. Wood and Abigail, in their tweets, were making reference to the sexual assault case brought against the NBA star. Back in 2003, while married to Vanessa, Bryant is said to have invited a 19-year-old hotel employee to his room. While Bryant initially denied that the encounter had happened, he later changed his stance to say that he thought that they had had a consensual engagement. The woman, who had bruises on her neck, sued him as she claimed it was a violent, non-consensual encounter. However, she later refused to testify, leading to the criminal charge of assault held against him to be dropped. The incident happened just two years after Bryant and Vanessa had tied the knot, with Vanessa filing for divorce from the 18-time All-Star in 2011 (citing ‘irreconcilable differences’) before the couple did eventually reconcile and go on to remain happily married until his untimely passing in January last year.
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Vanessa Bryant also went on to share supportive tweets from users who found issue with Woods and Disneys’ tweets. She also posted a screenshot of a tweet condemning a reporter who chose to highlight the sexual assault case in her tweet about his passing. Her stories come just after she had filed an amended complaint to publicly name police deputies accused of sharing unauthorized photos taken at the scene of the helicopter crash.
*Cover image credit: Instagram