Vanessa Bryant has an ongoing lawsuit with Los Angeles County concerning the photos of the helicopter crash that killed her husband, Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant and their daughter Gianna in January 2020. And in a new court filing this week that was obtained by the Washington Post, Vanessa described living in fear that the photos will go viral. She described the ongoing distress due to the knowledge that the photos have been circulated.
"These deputies and firefighters took the worst thing that has ever happened to me — the worst thing that could happen to any mother or spouse — and made it worse," Bryant said in the filing, per Yahoo Sports. "I will never be able to shake the anguish from knowing that the officials who are supposed to keep us safe treated Kobe and Gianna with such callous disrespect.
"For the rest of my life, one of two things will happen: either close-up photos of my husband's and daughter's bodies will go viral online, or I will continue to live in fear of that happening." Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said that members of his department took photos are shared them in personal settings. In March 2020, Villanueva said eight deputies who took the photos have deleted them.
"That was my No. 1 priority, was to make sure those photos no longer exist," Villanueva told NBC4 at the time. "We identified the deputies involved, they came to the station on their own and had admitted they had taken them and they had deleted them. And we're content that those involved did that." The county believes that Bryant is suffering from emotional distress because she lost her husband and daughter, not because of the photos. Bryant has claimed she has been taunted online by people threatening to leak the photos or "posting fake images of my husband's dead body."
"The gratuitous sharing continued in the following days and weeks and included such outrageous conduct as flaunting the photos in a bar while pantomiming dismemberment and showing off the photos over cocktails at an awards gala," a separate filing from Bryant's legal team alleges. "One deputy guffawed while sharing the photos; another described the crash victims' remains as 'hamburger' and 'piles of meat.'"