Kobe Bryant has been denied membership to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, TMZ reported. The Academy cited Bryant’s lack of a substantial body of work in its decision.
The former basketball star won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short for his film “Dear Basketball,” which is based on the retirement letter he wrote in 2015. Bryant acted as the executive producer and writer of the short.
Bryant was recommended for membership by the executive committee of the Academy’s short film and feature animation branch. Oscar winners are also automatically considered for membership. However, they are not guaranteed a spot because the board votes new members in based on specific criteria, including having the equivalent of two producer screen credits for high-quality, theatrical feature films.
Bryant produce the docu-series Muse in addition to “Dear Basketball,” but the series was produced for television and is therefore not considered a theatrical feature.
According to TMZ, there is speculation that Bryant’s denial of membership is actually due to his controversial past and the impact of the #MeToo movement in Hollywood. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Bryant was accused of sexual assault in 2003. The case was dropped when his accuser, who later filed a separate civil suit, refused to testify. Bryant apologized and settled but did not admit guilt.