Walt Disney Company heiress Abigail Disney has been slammed on social media for supporting a tweet about a 2003 rape allegation against Kobe Bryant hours after he died in a helicopter crash.
Washington Post reporter Felicia Sonmez posted a tweet saying that “remembering Kobe Bryant required the hammer of truth.” She tweeted a link to a detailed report of a “highly credible rape accusation lodged against the hard-court hero in 2003.” The newspaper suspended, then reinstated Sonmez for her tweet after it found she didn’t violate social media policy, Daily Mail reported.
Actress Evan Rachel Wood was also berated for tweeting: “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.” She later deleted it and made her Twitter account private.
An Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker, Disney supported the Washington Post writer.
Disney tweeted Wednesday: “I haven’t said anything about Kobe so far because I felt some time needed to pass… The man was a rapist. Deal with it”. She shared the Washington Post story. She also shared a story by Washington Post writer David Von Drehle saying that that “Bryant himself ‘admitted that he engaged in rough sex with his accuser, choked her so violently that she had bruises on her jawline and left her with multiple lacerations … This woman, and others like her, victimized by other accomplished, admired, even celebrated men, should not be resected from the stories of those men’s lives.'”
Social media users responded:
On Twitter, the Bryant critic was accused of being a social justice warrior “SJW trash feminist”. Respondents reminded her that Bryant was never prosecuted over the alleged sexual assault by a 19-year-old Colorado hotel employee almost 17 years ago and the lawsuit was settled.
“And this is where the Me too movement has gotten out of control… attacking a man who literally just died less than 24 hours ago, with his little girl!” Catherine (Kathleen) Curtin tweeted.
Speaking ill of the dead is an ancient taboo.
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“There are these norms that you don’t speak ill of the dead,” said Jed R. Brubaker, a University of Colorado at Boulder information scientist who has studied the intersections of death and online culture.
However, the internet has changed things.
“The internet has taken our expressions of grief and mourning and made them public in ways that didn’t exist 20 years ago,” Brubaker said in a 2018 Washington Post report.
Brubaker and his colleagues analyzed social media comments after the death of Prince and other celebrities in a 2017 paper. Some on social media wanted to express their grief. Others wanted to reflect on the life of a public figure, he said.
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