Animation film fest rescinds Kobe Bryant invite after outcry

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Kobe Bryant has been dropped from the jury of an animated film festival after calls for the former NBA star's ouster over a 2003 rape allegation. 

Eric Beckman is the CEO of the organization behind the Animation Is Film Festival. He wrote in a statement Wednesday that the festival's stakeholders decided to drop Bryant to keep its focus on films. 

An online petition had been circulating demanding Bryant be dropped. 

Bryant released a statement saying he was honored to be invited and disappointed to be excluded.  

He won an Academy Award in March for his part in making the animated short, "Dear Basketball." 

In 2003, Bryant was charged with raping a 19-year-old hotel employee. 

The Lakers star said he believed it was a consensual sexual encounter. The case was dropped after Bryant's accuser refused to testify.