The entertainment industry has been having somewhat of a hard time recently. It all started in October 2017, when the gold gilded curtains which have long concealed the dark side of the business were ripped open by those who’d fallen foul to Harvey Weinstein’s predatory behavior.
Quickly, the movie mogul’s fall from grace rippled across Tinseltown like an unstoppable earthquake. Aftershocks came in the form of Kevin Spacey, Louis CK and Al Franken, who were all accused of inappropriate behavior and abuse of power. Following on from this, Mark Wahlberg came under fire when it was revealed that he’d been paid millions of dollars for a reshoot of All The Money In The World, whilst Michelle Williams accepted the $80 a day offered by the production team.
But now, just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, it would appear that it can for O.J. Simpson is now set to star in a movie. The sports star-turned-convicted criminal has had a turbulent time in the spotlight, but it would seem that wasn’t enough to deter him from returning.
The 70-year-old former athlete fell from grace in 1994 when he was accused of murdering his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ron Goldman. Simpson was eventually acquitted after a long and internationally publicized trial which became dubbed the ‘trial of the century’.
However, he wouldn’t escape lightly. In a 1997 civil suit filed against him, Simpson was ordered to pay $33.5 million in damages to the family of Ron Goldman and his ex-wife. In addition, Simpson was ordered to pay $1.44 million in back taxes in 1999.
Despite selling his Heisman trophy and other sporting memorabilia, Simpson wasn’t able to raise the funds required to pay of his debtors. As a result, he was evicted from his famous mansion on Rockingham Avenue in Brentwood after defaulting on the mortgage.
Simpson tried and failed to trademark his own name in order to generate extra funds. Desperate for some cash, he even signed a book deal in an attempt to generate some revenue, but the deal ultimately fell through.
Simpson’s hunger for money is cited as the reason why in 2007 he, along with a group of men, robbed sports memorabilia the Palace Station casino. Simpson claimed he was simply taking back what was rightfully his, but that wasn’t enough to stop him from being served a 33-year prison sentence with eligibility for parole after nine years.
When Simpson was sent to jail in Las Vegas, many celebrated, for they believed justice had finally been served against the California-born star. So when he was released on October 1, 2017, there was a feeling of immense discomfort around the world.
Unsurprisingly, the memory of O.J. Simpson’s crimes left a bad taste in people’s mouths. This bitterness was only intensified recently when it was revealed by The Daily Mail that the Hall of Fame sportsman has been paid $20,000 to appear in a movie alongside comedian Sacha Baron Cohen.
According to a source, the comedian, best known for his alter egos Borat and Brüno, hired O.J. to appear in a prank in his latest film.
“OJ would not even get in the hotel room until he was paid a sackload of cash. There was no way Sacha could have got OJ into the room without paying money,” the source, reportedly a member of the film’s production team, said.
This news has outraged the family of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson who are still owed money by the disgraced star.
“Nicole and Ron are two human beings who were brutally murdered. This is not a joke nor is it entertainment. If Sacha makes this a comedic effort his victims will be personified as a joke. Shame on him,” said Tanya, Nicole’s sister.
Meanwhile, the Goldman family lawyer David Cook, said: “If money changed hands then all of the money paid should go to Ron’s father Fred. There is a legal and moral imperative here.”
When approached by reporters, Simpson refused to comment on the rumors, but he did say of Cohen: “I know him well. I met him. Nice guy.” Meanwhile, Baron Cohen, who is notoriously secretive about his work, refused to comment.
What do you think? Should O.J. be allowed to accept the work? Or, is this a step too far?