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Vanessa Bryant claims Evan Rachel Wood's year-old tweet is 'slanderous' for calling Kobe a rapist

Jack Baer
·Writer
·3-min read

More than a year after the death of Kobe Bryant, his wife is taking issue with tweets posted immediately after his helicopter crash calling attention to his past rape accusation.

Vanessa Bryant posted two tweets onto her Instagram story from actress Evan Rachel Wood and documentary producer Abigail Disney. Both tweets, which received blowback from Bryant's fans the day they were posted, bluntly called the Los Angeles Lakers legend a "rapist."

In her story, Bryant wrote that Wood's tweet had just come to her attention, then launched an attack on both women claiming they had slandered her husband, exemplified structural racism in the criminal justice system and did not know the facts of the case.

Here's Bryant's response to Wood:

Screengrab of Vanessa Bryant's Instagram story.
Screengrab of Vanessa Bryant's Instagram story.

And what she said to Disney:

Screengrab of Vanessa Bryant's Instagram story.
Screengrab of Vanessa Bryant's Instagram story.

The text of Bryant's response to Wood:

Your false, insensitive, defamatory and slanderous tweet on 1/26/20 is vile and disturbing to say the least. Behavior like this is part of the reason why innocent black men go to jail for crimes they didn't commit. An accusation doesn't make someone guilty. YOU DON'T KNOW THE FACTS OF THE CASE.

Bryant wrote the same thing regarding Disney's post, but with the later Jan. 29 date.

Bryant followed those posts with screengrabs of several angry replies to the tweets in question. While Wood deactivated her Twitter account back in June, Disney's is still up and has been hit with a tidal wave of angry messages in her replies.

The posts criticizing Wood and Disney came the same day Bryant called for the names of the deputies who leaked photos from her husband and daughter's crash site to be released, which she also addressed in her Instagram story.

The facts of the Kobe Bryant rape case

The Bryant case has been eternally litigated and re-litigated, but the basics bear out to this: Bryant, then married, invited a 19-year-old employee of a Colorado resort to his room, where they had sex. Bryant told police the encounter was consensual after previously denying it had taken place, while the woman claimed it was violent and not consensual. The woman had bruises around her neck, which Bryant tried to explain to police by saying strangling during sex was his "thing." The accuser's blood was also found on Bryant's T-shirt.

Bryant was arrested and charged with sexual assault, but the charges were dismissed more than a year later when Bryant's accuser refused to testify. Over that span, her identity had been leaked multiple times, she had received death threats and Bryant's legal team had aggressively probed her mental health and sexual history, including an encounter around the time of Bryant's alleged assault.

The day the charges were dropped, Bryant released a public apology which included these two sentences:

"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 case filed by the accuser eventually led to a settlement including a confidentiality agreement and a payment of an undisclosed amount. Obviously, discussion of the case didn't end there, and has remained a dark chapter in a story beloved by a legion of basketball fans and made even more contentious after Bryant's death.

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