Evan Rachel Wood sparks furious backlash over Kobe Bryant tweet

Evan Rachel Wood sparks furious backlash over Kobe Bryant tweet

Actor, Evan Rachel Wood, has come under fire on social media over a tweet that mentioned Kobe Bryant's 2003 sexual assault case just hours after the former NBA player died in a helicopter crash with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.

The 41-year-old was travelling on a helicopter over Calabasas, California, with his daughter when it crashed, killing them and seven others on Sunday.

Following news of the accident, the Westworld actress posted a tweet acknowledging Bryant's "sports hero" status alongside the fact that he was accused of sexual assault. The now-deleted tweet read, "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."

Watch as Shaquille O'Neal gives a tearful tribute to Kobe Bryant

Wood was referring to an incident which was made public in a 2016 article from The Daily Beast. The publication alleged that a 19-year-old woman accused the professional basketball player of choking and sexually assaulting her in a Colorado hotel room.

Bryant was subsequently arrested and charged with sexual assault and false imprisonment, but the case was dismissed the following year after the accuser refused to testify in court.

Bryant issued a public apology to the woman, which his lawyer read. In it, he claimed that he believed that the encounter was consensual. A civil case ensued, and was settled for an undisclosed amount in 2005.

Wood's tweet promoted outrage on Twitter, with many people condemning the fact she'd brought up the sexual assault accusation so soon after Bryant's death.

"Would it kill you to have some empathy for the family who are grieving not only Kobe but their daughter as well? It hasn't even been 48 hours yet," wrote one Twitter user. 

On Monday, Wood took to Twitter once again to clarify her stance;

"Beloveds, this was not a condemnation or a celebration. 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."

The 32-year-old was not the only person to be criticised for drawing attention to the sexual assault accusations against the late Lakers player. Washington Post writer, Felicia Sonmez, was suspended after tweeting a link to the Daily Beast article about the rape case. She has since been reinstated, according to CNN.