The father and sister of Ronald Goldman say by seizing control of the O.J. Simpson book, “If I Did It,” they are punishing the man they believe murdered their loved one.
Fred Goldman and his daughter, Kim, appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” Thursday to discuss their decision to publish the book, released the same day. Simpson was acquitted in 1995 of killing his ex-wife, Nicole, and her friend, Ronald.
Over the summer, a federal bankruptcy judge awarded the book’s rights to Goldman’s family to help satisfy a $38 million wrongful death judgment against Simpson. The Goldmans retitled the book “If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer.”
Winfrey said she won’t buy or read the book, and asked the Goldmans if they don’t feel its proceeds are “blood money.”
“It’s sending him a message,” Kim Goldman said. “He put hours putting together this confession about how he killed Ron and Nicole, and he worked hard thinking he was going to make millions off of it. And we snatched it right out from under him.”
Winfrey said dedicating a show to the topic was a “moral, ethical dilemma” for her. She said she committed to the show when the guests were to also include Nicole Simpson’s sister, Denise Brown, who has been severely critical of the Goldmans for publishing the book.
Brown later refused to share a stage with the Goldmans, however, and Winfrey said she felt she had to keep her word to the Goldmans.
Winfrey acknowledged that her program often promotes books and authors, yet, she said, “I don’t want to be in the position to promote this book, because I, too, think it’s despicable.”
Denise Brown did speak to Winfrey, but on her own in a segment taped earlier. She said she decided against appearing with the Goldmans because she feared it would give the book “more impact.”
She called the Goldmans hypocrites for changing their minds about publishing a book Fred Goldman earlier called “disgusting” and “despicable” when O.J. Simpson stood to benefit.
“I felt the same way. I stood my ground on that,” Brown said. “I still don’t believe it should be published. I think it is a morally wrong thing to do.”
Winfrey told the Goldmans she wishes they could find some peace, but Fred Goldman said the book’s publication won’t help with that.
“It brings a certain level of satisfaction that we’ve taken something from him,” he said. “I think it also is a recognition for him to know forevermore that we’re going to be after him ... to punish him for what he’s done, to get some piece of justice.”
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Simpson’s ghostwritten, hypothetical story of how he would have murdered Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman originally was scheduled to come out last November, but HarperCollins pulled the book in response to near-universal protests.
Beaufort Books, a small New York-based publisher, is reissuing “If I Did It” with Simpson’s original manuscript intact and extensive commentary, including a chapter written by the Goldmans.
Eric Kampmann, president of Beaufort, told The Associated Press Thursday in New York that he believes it is the “right and proper and moral thing to do to bring this book to the American public.”
“It’s as if the American people become the jury,” he said. “And finally we’ve heard the words of the murderer, the killer, say exactly what he did.”
Kampmann even drew parallels between the book and Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s “Crime and Punishment,” saying the piece exposes Simpson’s dark side.
“At the end of the day, we see this person who can’t deal with, on one hand, being this icon, on the other hand being somebody that wants to bring his wife under control and can’t,” Kampmann said.
Simpson has maintained his innocence in the 1994 killings in Los Angeles. Currently living near Miami, he has disowned the book, saying he had little do with its creation. The ghostwriter, Pablo Fenjves, has disagreed, saying “If I Did It” is based on extensive discussions with Simpson.
As of Thursday, the book was No. 8 in sales on Barnes&Noble.com and No. 52 on Amazon.com.