Female empowerment and diversity took center stage at Sunday’s Oscar ceremony but there were a few awkward #MeToo moments that sparked backlash from those watching the event on television.
First, there was Ryan Seacrest’s largely uneventful red carpet coverage, where A-listers appeared to avoid the E! host after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced days before the Oscars. Several Oscar nominees, including Allison Janney, and Mary J. Blige, were interviewed by Seacrest, but E! seemed to rely on co-hosts Kristin dos Santos and Giuliana Rancic to address any potentially troublesome spots for Seacrest, who has denied any wrongdoing against his accuser.
Inside the Dolby Theater, Gary Oldman claimed the top prize for acting for this role as Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour,” and basketball star Kobe Bryant won best short animated film for “Dear Basketball,” but many on Twitter were in no mood to celebrate their wins.
“Just to recap: accused harasser Ryan Seacrest on the red carpet, accused rapist Kobe Bryant wins for animated short, accused domestic abuser Gary Oldman wins best actor… But, sorry, what was that you were saying about this ‘new day in Hollywood’?” said Twitter user @mommasew.
The New York Daily News reported in 2001 that Oldman, who was 43 years old at the time, allegedly assaulted his wife Donya Fiorentino with a telephone in front of their two young children. Oldman reportedly denied the allegations at the time, according to the Daily News. But the internet never forgets and many took to Twitter on Sunday to call him out when he claimed the best actor award towards the end of the night.
Two years after Oldman’s alleged assault, Bryant was charged with one count of sexual assault in a case involving a 19-year-old hotel worker. The charge accuses Bryant of “sexual penetration or intrusion and (that) he caused submission of the victim through actual physical force,” according to the district attorney. Bryant admitted to the adultery at the time, but denied the rape allegations, according to CNN’s reporting.
The criminal sexual assault charge was dropped in 2004 and the accuser agreed to settle her civil lawsuit. The terms of the settlement have not been disclosed.
Bryant, 39, went on to win multiple MVP awards and even took home two Olympic gold medals for Team USA. And now, he’s an Oscar winner.
Some on Twitter celebrated Bryant for breaking grounds and crossing over from sports to filmmaking. But many tweeted about the rape allegations instead.
“So in the era of #metoo the Academy is going to give Kobe Bryant, an accused rapist, an Oscar? Ok, got it,” @ValerieGBowman tweeted.
“@Hollywood, you people make me sick! Jimmy Kimmel is a joke and should be taken off TV. They cheer for Kobe Bryant who settled out of court for sexual misconduct but silent when Oldemen thanks America and shows appreciation. #metoo movement was not protesting all the predators?” @CoMar_Inc tweeted.
One critic pointed out the irony of Bryant and Oldman winning during an award show helmed by Jimmy Kimmel, who use to host “The Man Show,” which frequently featured bikini-clad women jumping on trampolines.
“Ironic night of the #metoo movement: host Jimmy Kimmel used to host the Man Show featuring women in bikinis jumping on a trampoline etc. while winner Kobe Bryant was accused of rape and another winner Gary Oldman was accused of beating his wife,” said @jimmaybejimmy.
“So people are upset because Gary Oldman wins and he may have hit his wife with a telephone but Kobe Bryant gets an Oscar and he may have raped someone? Talk about Hollywood hypocrisy,” another viewer pointed out.
“Is there anything more quintessentially Hollywood than the Oscars having a segment about times up and then giving awards to Gary Oldman and Kobe Bryant????” read one tweet.
CNN has reached out to the Academy for comment.