Actress Evan Rachel Wood, star of HBO’s Westworld, has made her Twitter account private after receiving severe backlash for tweeting out and branding Kobe Bryant as a “rapist” only hours after it was reported that the NBA legend had died in a tragic helicopter crash along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others over Calabasas, California.
As news of the accident spread, Wood tweeted: “What has happened is tragic. 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.”
In 2003, Bryant was charged with felony sexual assault after a 19-year-old accused him of choking and raping her in a Colorado hotel room. The case was dismissed the following year after prosecutors said the accuser did not want to testify in court.
At the time, Bryant issued a public apology to the woman, in which he said he thought the encounter between them was “consensual,” A civil case ensued, and was settled in 2005 for an undisclosed amount.
Bryant spent the rest of his life showing his wife how much he actually did love her.
In response to Wood’s tweet, many people have expressed outrage that the actor felt it appropriate to bring up the past sexual assault accusation in the hours after Bryant’s death, at a time when countless others were mourning the basketball player. It was also not lost on many that Wood is a Caucasian actress who tweeted out against Bryant, an African American man.
“We didn’t need a ‘reminder.” You used the death of a man & his daughter to get clout from the #metoo movement, ” tweeted one woman. “You used allegations, not an actual conviction to disrespect a black icon on the day of his death.”
Another man addressed Wood, by tweeting allegations leveled against legend David Bowie who died four years ago.
Fellow actor Kyla Pratt also criticized Wood, writing on Twitter: “Evan. We met as kids and I grew up in the same industry as you and have admired your work from afar these past few years. On camera and off. But this tweet? How f***ing dare you?”
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On Monday, Wood followed up the post with a note clarifying her point in drafting the original tweet.
“Beloveds, this was not a condemnation or a celebration,” the 32-year-old wrote. “It was a reminder that everyone will have different feelings and there is room for us all to grieve together instead of fighting. Everyone has lost. Everyone will be triggered, so please show kindness and respect to all.”
While many of the responses to Wood’s tweet were critical, Wood did receive messages of support.
“This is very thoughtful, and I wholeheartedly agree,” one person wrote. “People keep saying that this is the wrong time/you should wait. But there are women/survivors watching this happen, and they have grief, too. Should their grief/mixed feelings also take a back seat, again, to a man’s legacy?”
The actress is not the first person to be criticized for their responses in the days since the helicopter crash. Both a Washington Post reporter and a CNN reporter have been criticized for bringing up The Daily Beast article and reminding the public that Bryant faced a rape charge.