Since 1995, Americans have had complicated feelings toward OJ Simpson. These feelings have now resurfaced with his recent Twitter debut.
If you need a refresher course, here is a very brief history: OJ Simpson is a former NFL Football star, actor, and broadcaster. However, he is also known for being a suspect in the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman. A crime he was acquitted for.
After his acquittal in criminal court, he was found liable for their deaths in civil court in 1997, which led to him paying a settlement of $33.5 million to the Brown and Goldman families. Ten years later, he wrote a memoir titled If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer. Simpson’s publisher considered it to be his confession to the murders, but Simpson and his lawyers insisted it is purely hypothetical.
Then, a year later in 2008, Simpson was sentenced to up to 33 years in prison for the kidnapping and armed robbery of two sports memorabilia dealers. He was released from prison in October 2017 after serving nine years.
Today, he is on Twitter.
According to Simpson, his tweets consist of a mixed commentary on sports, politics, controversies, and, of course, his supposed innocence. This includes one post addressing the rumor of his alleged affair with Kris Kardashian, and being Khloe Kardashian’s biological father.
— O.J. Simpson (@TheRealOJ32) June 17, 2019
I’ll be honest. I’m 21, and like much of my generation, I was not alive when the OJ Simpson controversy took place. And during his second criminal trial, I was too young to know what was happening. Unless you’re a true crime junkie, most of our generation grew up that way.
Because of this, many might argue that his joining Twitter is now irrelevant as he’s been gone too long for society to care anymore. For a lot of us, he blends in with the rest of the Twitter void.
However, his account’s first post was on June 14, 2019, a mere two days after the 25th anniversary of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. And within the span of three weeks, he amassed a following of over 840,000 followers.
That is an extremely fast blow-up. Clearly then, people are still interested, and there’s a larger issue at play.
The public is worried. They’re concerned about the content he’s sharing and perhaps rightfully so. His vengeful rants on old rumors take some slightly violent undertones that some are calling “pathetic.”
His first video post, for instance, leaves a bitter taste with its eerie undertone. “This should be a lotta fun, I got a little gettin’ even to do,” he said which might be ill-advised coming from an alleged murderer.
Coming Soon!!! pic.twitter.com/R1tXOuuLgO
— O.J. Simpson (@TheRealOJ32) June 15, 2019
The rest of the content is equally unsettling, for one reason or another. Most of his posts are awkward, low-quality videos where he sits in a golf cart and directly addresses the camera. Like this one, which starts off as a celebration of Michael Jackson’s life and then quickly deteriorates into a pointless rant.
Rest In Peace Michael pic.twitter.com/pqCI8szapH
— O.J. Simpson (@TheRealOJ32) June 25, 2019
But there’s still an important question to answer: should the account be verified?
Yes. If the account is him, I don’t think there is any harm in a little blue check signifying that this is the real OJ Simpson. All celebrities are verified, even the ones that are not scandalous or problematic. I don’t mean to compare situations, but Bill Cosby, Donald Trump, Harvey Weinstein, and more are all verified. Nonviolence has never been a criterion for Twitter verification.
At the same time, he is a convicted criminal with a history of violence, and if that makes you uncomfortable, I suggest you block him. That is a healthy version of self-care.
He is legally out of prison, and on Twitter but if we want to push Simpson back into irrelevancy, the only way to do so is to not engage with his posts, to not follow him, and to let him go back to the infamous, yet irrelevant person Gen X knows him by.
Personally, I wasn’t excited to see OJ Simpson had a Twitter. And I don’t think many people were. But the bottom line about this account is that the poor-quality content seems to be more self-destructive than anything else. As long as he isn’t committing crimes, I think most of us don’t care what he does.
And I’m okay living with that.