Goldmans: Public Outcry Nixed O.J. Deal

former football player O.J. Simpson and Fred Goldman
AP Photo
After taking hits from all sides, News Corporation finally pulled the plug on what was being billed as a "confession" — a book called "If I Did It" and an accompanying TV special on Fox in which former football great, O.J. Simpson, described how the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman, occurred — if he had committed them.

Simpson was found not guilty of the murders in 1995. His ex-wife and Goldman were found stabbed to death in June 1994 outside Brown's Brentwood, Calif., condominium. The Simpsons' two children were asleep upstairs.

In 1995, O.J. Simpson wrote a book denying that he committed the murders called "I Want To Tell You." But this upcoming book, which was to be published by ReganBooks, sparked an unprecedented outcry from the general public and the victims' families alike.
"I wish it never had to happen to begin with," Fred Goldman told The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith. "I think it was … a bad decision and, fortunately, we have the result that we do."

"I'm sad we had to come to this point, but I'm thrilled that the country got behind us and stood for what was right and that this is not something we want to have on our televisions and bookshelves to glorify crime," said Kim Goldman, Ron Goldman's sister. "We're thankful the country stood up and raised their voices."

The outrage had been building for days. A dozen local Fox affiliates had already said they wouldn't air the program and Border's books said it would donate all profits of "If I Did It" to charity.

The Goldmans started the Web site and tens of thousands of people signed a petition to get Fox to stop the project.

"It certainly goes to prove that the voices of the people can be heard," Fred Goldman said. "There was a unanimous recognition that this kind of programming, this kind of book … is just nothing more than the glorification of murder and doing it for money. It was bad enough that the murderer did it, but then to turn around and have ReganBooks and Fox TV want to air it and cash in on it and glorify it. It was way too disgusting for the American public to swallow."

Even Fox insiders started piling on the criticism. Fox's biggest news star, Bill O'Reilly, said: "I'm not going to watch the Simpson show or even look at the book. If any company sponsors the TV program, I will not buy anything that company sells — ever."
Geraldo Rivera said: "I will bash this project every minute I have the opportunity to bash this project"

"I do believe that Rupert Murdock blinked and pulled the plug on this TV special and the book because, just clearly the bottom line," media strategist Sally Stewart said.

It's unclear how much of the reported $3.5 million paycheck O.J. Simpson has already received.

"The standard book deal is dolled out in three parts a third up front, a third when it's published," said Sara Nelson, editor-in-chief of trade magazine Publisher's Weekly.

The $30 million civil judgment against him said that any money Simpson makes will go to the Brown and Goldman families, but Kim Goldman said neither her family nor the Browns have received any portion of the money Simpson was ordered to pay for the wrongful deaths of his ex-wife and Goldman.

"We've not received anything from him to honor the judgment," she said. "There was a collection from an auction a handful of years ago right when the judgment was first entered, but since then he's vowed to never do anything to honor that judgment … We will take whatever legal steps we can to secure whatever monies are owed to the families. He evaded the judgment. People were in cahoots to evade the judgment."

The Goldmans said that Simpson worked out a third-party deal so he wouldn't have to pay the families with money he earns from the book and interview. Fred Goldman said Simpson already received four-fifths of the $3.5 million

Nevertheless, the interview has been taped and some books have already been shipped to some stores. There is a good chance that it may get out to the public, and Fred Goldman said that is unfortunate.

"It will make its way through the Internet, the black market, I'm sure," Kim Goldman said. "I hope people don't pay any attention to it. It's disgusting and it does a disservice to victims of crime across the country."