Mounting pressure on Twitter is credited as being part of the reason Kobe Bryant was so quick to apologize for a gay slur he made during Tuesday night’s Lakers game. Twitter played a central role in eliciting a response from Bryant and appeasing the gay community within 24 hours of the offending slur.
During Tuesday night’s Lakers game, Kobe Bryant was caught on camera using a gay slur after being handed his fourth foul of the third quarter. The following day, the Human Rights Campaign which works for gay, lesbian and bisexual rights tweeted:
HRC Calls Out Kobe Bryant for Apparent Use of Homophobic Slur — http://bit.ly/gC4THW #lgbt #noh8
The link leads to a full statement from the HRC calling for an apology from Bryant. And within 24 hours, an apology is what they got.
The story about Bryant’s gay slur and HRC’s response got picked up on Twitter, with “Kobe” trending on Wednesday. Most of the thousands of tweets denounced Bryant’s derogatory slur, and many called for some sort of punishment.
On Wednesday afternoon, just hours after the HRC tweeted its reprimand of Bryant, the NBA fined him $100,000 for the slur.
And, as Forbes reports, by Wednesday evening, Bryant himself issued a formal apology and spoke to the president of HRC Joe Solmonese. Said Solmonese:
“I applaud Kobe Bryant for his swift apology. We had a very sincere conversation in which he expressed his heartfelt regret for the hurt that his words caused. He told me that it’s never ok to degrade or tease, and that he understands how his words could unfortunately give the wrong impression that this is appropriate conduct. At the end of a difficult day, I applaud Kobe for coming forward and taking responsibility for his actions.”
The HRC also told Forbes that had it not been for Twitter and social media, the story might’ve taken weeks to unfold. And had that been the case, Bryant’s apology likely would have had less impact.