Monday, September 17, 2007
On June 12, 1994 football legend O.J. Simpson's wife Nicole and her friend Ronald Goldman were brutally murdered in the entrance way to her Brentwood, CA condo. Simpson was subsequently arrested and charged with the double-homicide, in one of the most sensational, highly publicized murder trials in American history. And in what is now a legendary case of prosecutorial ineptitude, juxtaposed with sheer defense-team brilliance, Simpson was astonishingly found not-guilty in the biggest travesty of justice ever.
I don't typically write about subjects non-political, but I am compelled to do so today. The brutal, savage murder of a spouse is, sadly, something I know all about first-hand. Back in '95, I remember watching tv in a crowded bar as the verdict was delivered. And I stood with about 150 people in stunned silence as the words "not-guilty" were read twice. I remember feeling sick to my stomach. Physical ill. And I will never forget the look on the other patrons' faces as we all quietly stared at each other in utter disbelief. A murderous beast had just been given a free ticket back into society. This monster, O.J. Simpson, had literally gotten away with murder. It was appalling. He was later found guilty of wrongful death in a civil trial.
In the years since, this animal flaunted his freedom in our collective faces as he travelled, played golf and relished in life's pleasures that Nicole and Ron can no longer enjoy thanks to his murderous hands. And through bizarre statements and interviews, he would frequently maintain his innocence with bravado and arrogance. He would also go on to write a book, "If I Did It," in which he brazenly describes the murders in chilling detail from the eyes and mind of someone who we're told didn't do it but who is creative enough to image how the real killer did . Could this cretin be any more offensive?
And now the former athlete, actor and still-savage murderer has been arrested again on multiple felony charges in yet another bizarre, twisted crime: an alleged armed robbery of sports memorabilia collectors in a Las Vegas hotel room. Witnesses say an enraged Simpson barged into the room with a posse of thugs, guns ablaze, and made off with both O.J. and non-O.J-related merchandise. He's being held without bail and charged with two counts of robbery with use of a deadly weapon, conspiracy to commit robbery, burglary with a deadly weapon, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon and coercion. He faces three to 35 years for each count.
O.J.'s new arrest touches many raw nerves. I for one am tired of his arrogance and his assumption that he gets to commit violent acts with impunity. I'm angry that this homicidal maniac got off Scot-free 13 years ago. I'm angry that his brutish, selfish, senseless actions took two children away from their mother, and a wonderful, loving son away from his family. I'm angry that our criminal justice system failed us miserably back then and allowed a murderous monster to live amongst us. And mock us. I'm not shocked though of his latest outburst. The criminal beast that is O.J. Simpson is O.J. at the core. Nicole and Ron's murder simply brought to light his violent history and the criminality that raged in him his whole life. The many 911 calls and photos over the years of a battered Nicole prior to her senseless death is proof of that. But he was smart. He had us duped with his big friendly grin, his Hertz commercials, his heroic movie roles and of course his iconic football career. But once a monster, always a monster.
And now we have that familiar image of the fallen star being lead away in handcuffs for yet another crime for which he'd like us to believe he is once again the victim. He was merely conducting "a self-imposed sting operation," he claims. Just like he was going to hunt down and find the "real" killers after the 1994 murders. The latest defense is just more of the same delusion from this crazed assassin.
There's a lot at stake here for society now. Will Simpson merely hire another Johhny Cochran-like genius to confuse the hell out of a jury so he can get back to the golf course? Will the prosecution be able to find a jury that can be impartial given Simpson's monumental infamy? Will Simpson face an Al Capone-like fate and spend the rest of his life in jail for something not nearly as heinous as his notorious master crimes? But does it all matter? Aren't we all just simply damned lucky to have this second chance at justice, which could result in the Goldmans and the Browns and the rest of us getting to see this vicious animal rot in prison until his own death? Let's hope justice gets served this time around.
On another note, we could use your help at The The Adrienne Shelly Foundation. We are a tax-exempt, non-profit organization dedicated in my wife's honor to help carry out her spirit and passion, with the goal of assisting women filmmakers. Adrienne was brutally killed in NYC on November 1, 2006. Through the Foundation, her commitment to filmmaking lives on. We've established scholarships, grants, finishing funds and living stipends at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts/Kanbar Institute of Film; Columbia University; American Film Institute; Women in Film; the Independent Feature Project; the Nantucket Film Festival; and the Sundance Institute.
On November 12 in NYC we will be holding our first annual Fundraising Gala, with a musical performance by Alanis Morissette followed by a celebrity reading of Adrienne's script "The Morgan Stories," featuring Paul Rudd, Edie Falco, Ally Sheedy and many others. To learn more about our mission, to make a tax-deductible donation, and to sign up to receive details about the November benefit please visit our website. Every contribution helps preserve Adrienne's legacy, allows us to help others, and creates something positive out of this tragedy.
Adrienne's film "Waitress" opened in theatres May 2nd to rave reviews from the NY Times, LA Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Time, People, Entertainment Weekly, Ebert & Roeper ("Two Thumbs Up"), Leonard Maltin and others, and has so far grossed $19-million domestically and almost $1-million internationally. The DVD will be available in November. It's a truly wonderful film that you're sure to love. A link to the trailer is below. Enjoy.