October 12, 1995
Web posted at: 10:55 p.m. EDT
From Correspondent Greg Lamotte
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- O.J. Simpson bailed out of a scheduled interview with NBC. The net result, according to public relations expert Michael Levine, is that it looks terrible. "It's a PR nightmare," he said.
Possibly in an effort to ease some of the backlash from his failure to appear, Simpson called the New York Times. In the interview, Simpson mentioned that he would be willing to speak with battered women's groups.
Gail Pincus of the Domestic Abuse Center said her group is willing to talk with Simpson about what's foremost on their minds. "If he's going to talk about it, let's talk about choking, beating, strangling, dragging, humiliating, embarrassing, debasing Nicole, which is what he did, and then he needs to seriously put himself in some serious treatment," Pincus said.
Simpson appears to be stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to rehabilitating his image. Just the thought of Simpson speaking at all brings out the anger in some people. But, the more he doesn't talk, the more some people think he's guilty.
John Kelly is one of those people. He is the attorney representing Nicole Brown Simpson's family in a civil suit against Simpson. Simpson's attorney said it would be mistake for Simpson to talk about the case because of the pending litigation.
Kelly said Simpson's foremost concern is salvaging his image. "Here's a man who's very concerned about his worldwide public image, and I can't believe he's that concerned about the civil litigation or some monetary judgment when he wants to clear his name from being largely thought of as having committed these double murders," he said.
Simpson certainly isn't the first, and won't be the last famous person to face image problems. Mike Tyson is back to making millions after three years in prison on a rape charge. Michael Jackson is doing the same, hitting the stage and studio after a sex scandal involving an underaged boy. William Kennedy Smith walked out of the courtroom from his rape trial and hung out his shingle as a doctor. And former Washington D.C. Mayor Marion Barry is back in office after being caught on video tape smoking crack cocaine.
So the question is, what must Simpson do in order to regain social acceptance? Levine suggests it could be a matter of taking a closer look at himself. "I think he should take a course in humility. His profound arrogance in the face of what most people believe is an abomination of justice is absolutely startling," Levine said.(165K AIFF sound or 165K WAV sound)
In the meantime, Simpson's new lawyer, Robert Baker, has filed papers responding to civil suits filed by the families of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. The papers ask to strike punitive damages from the Goldman suit and drop the Brown suit. Baker wants his motions to be heard November 8.
Simpson was subpoenaed to give a deposition next week regarding the civil suits, but that has since been postponed. Robert Tourtelot, attorney for the family of Ron Goldman, said he won't object to the delay.
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