Hours after a new mural memorializing basketball player Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna was unveiled Thursday, it was defaced with the word "rapist."
Went pay my respects to Kobe but the mural has already been defaced (?) pic.twitter.com/1lSUAzFKSb— Rashad (@0Rashad) January 31, 2020
The memorial has since been repainted by the artist.
Bryant was accused of sexual assault by a 19-year old woman working as a front desk clerk in Colorado in 2003. He was 24 at the time of the accusation and the case was ultimately dropped by prosecutors in September 2004 after the accuser made the decision she would not testify.
According to the LA Times, a medical examination later became problematic for the accuser because the DNA evidence suggested she had sex with someone else in the 15 hours after the alleged rape and before the exam — a claim denied by prosecutors.
Bryant and the woman reached a confidential civil settlement in 2005.
"I believe everyone has their own beliefs and opinions on various matters," one of the artists behind the mural Josue Rivera (also known as Laced and Found) said.
"Nonetheless there are ways to go about speaking and voicing personal thoughts. This was disrespectful to the Kobe family, the city of Austin, the fans and the artists who put some serious hard work and emotions into the piece. We will continue to fix this piece and prolong it as long as possible for the community to have it as their own."
"I wanted to go out there before it was defaced because I knew somebody was going to do it," UT Austin student Rashad Rivers told Austin360.
The mural can be found behind the Sushi Hi restaurant just north of the Drag.
"I hope it (the mural) reminds people that they’re not invincible," Rivers said. "Kobe Bryant is viewed as a god to people in the basketball world and the fact that this happened to him and those other passengers is just horrific."