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Kobe Bryant won an Oscar for his animated short ‘Dear Basketball’, but not everyone is happy about it.

In fact, over 16,000 people have signed a petition protesting the accolade after it came to light that the retired basketball star was accused of raping a teenage girl in 2003.

A 19-year-old hotel employee accused Bryant of raping her in Colorado. Bryant admits that he had sex with the woman, but said it was consensual.

Before the trial, the alleged victim decided not to testify and the charges were dropped. She went on to settle out of court with Bryant for an unknown amount.

The petition, started by a woman called Kelsey Bourgeois, states:

The Oscars almost avoided nominating sexual predators for awards. Woody Allen and James Franco didn't get anything. But Kobe Bryant, who was charged with a horrific sexual assault, was nominated.

An important conversation has been started about sexual assault and harassment, so why is Bryant being honoured for best animated short if Time really is Up?

Bourgeois told Broadly:

He settled with his accuser. So in my mind, that doesn’t really make him innocent — it just makes him able to pay off someone who he wronged. I, of course, couldn’t possibly know what actually happened. But we have to believe women, especially when they accuse men who are typically ‘above the law,’ so to speak.

Some people online have been defending Bryant on his win, pointing out that he was not convicted of the charge, which was subsequently dropped.

However reactions online have also been critical of the win:

At the time of writing, the petition is just over 700 signatures short of its 17,000 goal, after which point it will be sent to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

indy100 has contacted Kobe Bryant's representatives for comment.

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