What a surprise: O.J. Simpson is in the middle of yet another controversy.
Despite Mr. Simpson’s public denials that he is involved in a new reality show, a Fort Myers, Fla.-based producer said he has taped footage and plans to sell a Simpson reality series plus a movie version.
The controversy is over whether or not Mr. Simson actually agreed to be taped while attending a number of hip-hop music events during 2001 and 2002. The producer, Norman Pardo of Spiderboy International, said Mr. Simpson signed what he described as an “employment contract” allowing his company to tape hours of footage in public venues and to release it using Mr. Simpson’s name and image. Mr. Pardo said that Mr. Simpson would not be paid in cash but agreed so that he could attend events and prove that he was still welcome in public.
Any income Mr. Simpson makes would be subject to a claim against him by the Goldman family, which won a civil court judgement in the wake of the double homicide of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson.
Mr. Simpson’s longtime lawyer in Miami, Yale Galanter, laughs at Mr. Pardo’s assertions that he has a contract: “This is a joke. He has nothing to sell.”
Mr. Pardo said he will hold a press conference this week to show some footage and discuss details of his plans for distribution. He already has held talks with Urban American Television, which presents programming aimed primarily at African Americans. A spokeswoman for UAT said it has not yet seen the footage, and there is no final deal in place. Mr. Simpson, who now makes his home in Florida, told the Associated Press last week: “I had a lot of fun. We were welcomed everywhere. But this was not meant to be shown anywhere except as a rebuttal to those who say I am a pariah.”
His attorney is even more adamant, telling TelevisionWeek: “No how, no way, over my dead body will this occur.”
Mr. Pardo said the reason they are trying to stop him is “because the footage is really raw and he doesn’t want it to be shown.”
Promising it will be aired, Mr. Pardo added: “I will put out my reality show and movie with or without their blessing.”