Academy Awards 2018: Outrage on Twitter Over Kobe Bryant’s Oscar Win
Professional basketball player and businessman Kobe Bryant’s Oscar win has not gone down well with many. Bryant wrote and narrated the animated-short film “Dear Basketball” which won an Oscar under Best Animated Short Film category. The 90th Oscars ceremony were the first since #MeToo and Time’s Up movement in Hollywood. Both viewers and Hollywood film fraternity are scrutinizing every award and speech through the lens of women’s empowerment. Thus, Kobe Bryant’s win felt like a slap in the face to those who were rooting for a new and improved Hollywood.
In 2003, Bryant was charged for sexually assaulting a nineteen-year-old hotel employee in Colorado.
The survivor had agreed to a dismissal of the charges against him, provided Bryant apologised to his accuser, which was read in court by Bryant’s attorney.
In the letter to the survivor, Bryant said, “Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did. After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney, and even her testimony in person, I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter.”
A civil suit was settled out of court in this case. However, people did not forget it, and when Oscar nominations were announced, a petition with nearly 16,000 signatures to have his nomination revoked made rounds.
Tweets called out the hypocrisy, and how difficult it was to siphon out sexual harassers from Hollywood
Kobe winning an Oscar is a great reminder that powerful men accused of sexual assault are almost never drummed out of polite society. https://t.co/2QNsmjnLDW
— Nick Baumann (@NickBaumann) March 5, 2018
Playing catch up here post-Sixers: Hollywood posturing as if #MeToo movement would prompt change & internal reflection and then handing Kobe Bryant an Oscar is really something
— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) March 5, 2018
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) March 5, 2018
Hollywood started to take sexual assault seriously.
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) March 5, 2018
Kobe Bryant and Harvey Weinstein now have a couple of things in common. Hooray for Hollywood!
— Ben Maller (@benmaller) March 5, 2018
Is it even possible to rid Hollywood of misogyny, predatory behaviour and power abuse?
With so much talk about women empowerment and crackdown on sexual predators who use their standing and power as a shield, Bryant holding Oscar in his grip symbolises the cruel reality.
The grip of misogyny is too strong to get loosened in a mere year.
Hollywood ends up negating all the powerful speeches, montages and jokes, when actions fail to follow words and promises. We understand that Oscars is all about celebrating the art and artists. Time and again we debate over whether we should view an artist’s work on basis of his or her personal conduct or its quality. A movie is a collaborative work of hundreds of technicians and artists. Do they deserve to be snubbed of the appreciation because someone has taken an undue advantage of their position? Can we separate art from the artist? We also debate over how intertwined sexism is with the fabric of cinema.
Hollywood needs to rework its fabric thread by thread. It needs to stop appreciating men accused of misconduct. The awards and money showered on them, adds to their personal credibility. It is these very credits that they use to abuse people.
Hollywood fraternity can avoid such fiasco in future by boycotting sexual predators and stop funding their projects. Just like Weinstein or Spacey, Hollywood should stop giving work opportunities to every man who has been accused of sexual misconduct. If they want #MeToo and Time’s Up to make a relevant change, then everyone from small technicians to big production houses have to shut their doors to such men. Only then will it be possible that a Kobe Bryant does not have a firm grip on an Oscar.
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are author’s own.