Vanessa Bryant took to Instagram on Saturday to defend her late husband from rape allegations.
The 38-year-old mother shared a screenshot of an old tweet from Evan Rachel Wood, who expressed her condolences to Kobe Bryant’s family just hours after he and his daughter, Gianna, were killed in a helicopter crash. Although the actress recognized Kobe Bryant as a “sports hero”, she also described him as a “rapist,” an apparent reference to her 2003 sexual assault case that was ultimately dismissed.
“What happened was tragic. I am heartbroken for Kobe’s family, ”Wood wrote in the January 26, 2020 tweet.“ He was a sports hero. He was also a rapist. And all these truths can exist simultaneously. “
Wood received widespread backlash over the post and removed it shortly thereafter. He went on to share another message that addressed the tragedy without mentioning the rape case.
“What has happened is tragic. Beloved, this was not a condemnation or a celebration, ”the subsequent tweet read. “It was a reminder that everyone will have different feelings and that there is room for all of us to cry together instead of fighting. Everybody has lost. Everyone will be activated, so show kindness and respect to everyone. “
Vanessa Bryant told her followers that it wasn’t until recently that she became aware of Wood’s “rapist” tweet. She also sent an energetic message to the Westworld actress, telling him how dangerous these kinds of accusations can be.
“Your fake, insensitive, defamatory and slanderous tweet on 1/26/20 is vile and disturbing to say the least,” he wrote. “Behavior like this is part of the reason innocent black men go to jail for crimes they didn’t commit. An accusation does not make anyone guilty. He does not know the facts of the case. “
Producer Abigail Disney made a similar claim against Kobe Bryant just days after his death.
“I haven’t said anything about Kobe so far because I felt like it should be some time before I intervened. But yeah, it’s time for the deck to come out. The man was a rapist. Deal with him. “
Vanessa Bryant responded to Disney’s tweet with a message almost identical to the one she sent to Wood.
Kobe Bryant was charged with sexual assault in 2003 when a 19-year-old woman claimed he had raped her in a Colorado hotel room in July of that year. Bryant, who was 24 at the time, admitted that he had a sexual encounter with the woman, but maintained that it was consensual. The criminal case was dismissed in 2004 after the accuser refused to testify.
“… I do not question this young woman’s motives. No money has been paid to this woman, ”Kobe Bryant said in a statement on the day the case was dismissed. “She has accepted that this statement will not be used against me in the civil case. Although I truly believe that this meeting between us was consensual, I now acknowledge that she did not and does not see this incident in the same way that I do. After months of reviewing the discovery, hearing from her attorney and even her testimony in person, I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter. “
In August 2004, the accuser filed a civil lawsuit against Kobe Bryant in connection with the alleged 2003 incident. The parties reached an out-of-court settlement in 2005.
Earlier this week, Vanessa Bryant criticized Meek Mill for lyrics referencing the 2020 helicopter crash that killed her husband, daughter and seven others.
“Yeah, and if I ever miss it, I’ll go out with my helicopter, it’ll be another Kobe,” Meek rapped on a previously unreleased track with Lil Baby.
Vanessa Bryant called the line “extremely insensitive and disrespectful.”
“I don’t know anything about your music, but I think you can do better with this,” he wrote on Instagram. “If you’re a fan that’s fine, there’s a better way to show your admiration for my husband. This lacks respect and tact. “
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