With the calendar turning to January, people worldwide are preparing to post tributes to Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna on Jan. 26, the one-year anniversary of their deaths in a helicopter crash. Vanessa Bryant is aware of these plans and has responded by issuing a statement. She asked media members to avoid using photos and video footage from the crash.
Vanessa posted a photo of Bryant and Gianna standing back-to-back. She then included a statement about the use of wreckage and said that they "do NOT want to see it." Vanessa said that the year has been traumatic enough and that there are thousands of photos available for use. She ended the statement by hoping that the videos are done in a classy and tasteful manner.
View this post on Instagram
"I want to thank everyone that has handled their media coverage respectfully," Vanessa wrote in the caption of her post. "[heart emoji] To everyone else, please reconsider your 'news story' and look at your footage through the eyes of their children , parents, spouse, siblings and family. Celebrate their lives, not the day they lost them."
Following the helicopter crash in the Calabasas mountains, footage of the wreckage surfaced in a variety of ways. Photographers took long-distance shots of the clean-up crews and the NTSB investigators. Other gruesome photos came to light in a controversial manner.
Late in February, reports surfaced that Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies had allegedly leaked graphic photos from the helicopter crash scene. One of the deputies had then allegedly shown the photos to a female at a bar. The LA County Sheriff's Office launched an investigation after the bartender reportedly called the office.
Vanessa responded to the alleged incident and filed a lawsuit against the LA County Sheriff's Office. She cited "severe emotional distress" as the reason and claimed in the lawsuit that Sheriff Alex Villanueva tried to cover the incident up by telling deputies if they delete the photos, they would not face any discipline. The lawsuit also stated Villanueva didn't tell the families about the photos and that they only learned about them when the media broke the story.
"No fewer than eight sheriff's deputies at the crash site, pulled out their personal cell phones and snapped photos of the dead children, parents and coaches," the lawsuit stated in February, as reported by TMZ. "The deputies took these photos for their own personal gratification."