Cuba Gooding Jr. is often cited as an example of a star who squandered his career after winning an Oscar. But now he’s back to play the most controversial role of his career in the true crime series, titled American Crime Story: The People vs O.J. Simpson. Cuba Gooding Jr. plays O.J. Simpson, the actor and football star who was charged with the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Simpson and her friend, but acquitted of all the criminal charges in a televised case that stunned the nation.
The O.J. Simpson murder trial was one of the most sensational moments in U.S. history. Simpson’s ex-wife, Nicole Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, were found murdered in Los Angeles. Suspicion quickly fell on O.J Simpson as he had previously been involved in domestic violence incidents with his ex-wife. Simpson’s eight-month trial took place against the backdrop of racial tensions, which had peaked following the acquittal of four white LAPD officers who were filmed beating a black motorist.
— Complex (@ComplexMag) March 25, 2016
Public opinion of the Simpson case was polarized along racial lines: many African-Americans believed the Simpson had been framed as the murder weapon was never found and some of the police officers had used racial slurs against Simpson. Ultimately, the trial received the most intensive television coverage of any criminal trial in history, with live commentary by a number of experts. The Simpson trial would highlight the fact that careless mistakes made during investigations can destroy what would otherwise be considered an open-and-shut case.
Prosecutors in the Simpson case had DNA evidence that was sufficient enough to convict Simpson. However, LAPD cops had not been sufficiently trained to handle the evidence from start to finish and the defense lawyers argued that the blood sample collection and analysis was so careless that tampering could not be ruled out, and that the DNA test results could not be believed.
— UPROXX (@UPROXX) March 16, 2016
They were supported by a powerful report by a Denver molecular biologist, John Gerdes, who inspected the operations of the LAPD laboratory only to arrive at the conclusion that the lab procedures were not up to the mark. In the end, Simpson got the benefit of doubt and he was acquitted. He was later convicted of charges in the civil case.
The New York Daily News reported that Cuba Gooding Jr. recently revealed that he suffered a nervous breakdown on the set as he reflected on the murder of Simpson’s ex-wife and Ronald Goldman.
— E! News (@ENews) March 19, 2016
Part of the reason for Cuba Gooding Jr.’s strong reaction now is that his grief for the victims and their families is strikingly different than how he reacted when Simpson was acquitted in real life. He admits now that he feels extremely guilty because he had participated in the rejoicing that followed Simpson’s acquittal, as the news came in the days when the majority of African-Americans wanted to get even with the injustice that was seen to have been done out to Rodney King, the black motorist who was beaten by racist LAPD officers.
The families of the murder victims were devastated and the acquittal of Simpson was the worst moment of their lives. For Fred Goldman, the agony of losing his son in a sudden and a violent way has never gone away, and the pain was made even more unbearable twenty years ago with the verdict that sent shock waves around the world. Recently, the Goldman family accused the show for neglecting to focus on the murder victims and instead turning the deaths into entertainment. According to Extra TV, Fred also opened up about an incident where he was offered a gun to kill Simpson. A man offer Fred an untraceable high-powered rifle for killing Simpson.
The trial was nothing short of a media circus for the Goodman family as Ron’s death was, to a large extent, neglected.
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