WHO: W. Joseph Campbell, professor, School of Communication, American University
WHEN: Tuesday, July 18, 2017 – ongoing
WHAT: Prof. Campbell is available to provide his insights before and after the O.J. Simpson parole hearing, which is to be convened Thursday, July 20, 2017, at 1 p.m. ET.
Background: Simpson, 70, has been serving a sentence at Lovelock Correctional Center in Nevada for kidnapping, armed robbery, and other offences that stemmed from a confrontation in a Las Vegas hotel room in 2007. If granted parole, Simpson will be eligible for release as early as October 1, 2017.
Prof. Campbell devoted a chapter to Simpson’s sensational double-murder trial in 1995, in his 2015 book 1995: The Year the Future Began. He periodically writes about the case for The 1995 Blog. Prof. Campbell is available to discuss the parole hearing and its outcome, which is expected to be announced on July 20.
Prof. Campbell said: “Simpson’s release from prison will set off a media and pop culture frenzy, at least for a short time. His best option would be to recede completely from the public’s eye. But going inconspicuous is not what O.J. may want or prefer. He may still want to recapture the allure he once exerted as a football star and a celebrity.”
He added: “If O.J. Simpson is paroled, it will be no cause for cheer. Simpson has never made amends for his probable role in the vicious stabbing deaths in 1994 of his former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman. Simpson was tried for murder in their deaths in 1995 but acquitted at what was often called the ‘Trial of the Century.’ Found liable for their deaths at a civil trial in 1997, he was ordered to pay $33.5 million to the victims’ estates. He has paid no more than a small fraction of that judgment.”
Prof. Campbell also said: “What explains the continuing popular interest in O.J.? Partly the gauzy nostalgia surrounding the 1990s these days. Partly the perverse but enduring interest as to how Simpson beat the rap back in 1995; how he won acquittal in the face of considerable DNA evidence arrayed against him. Despite that evidence and despite the pressures he faced, Simpson refused to buckle during the months-long trial. Another part of the explanation is Simpson’s stunning fall from grace, from adored celebrity to convicted felon spending years behind bars. All those factors help explain the enduring popular fascination with Simpson.”