O.J. Simpson joins Twitter: ‘This should be a lot of fun.’

O.J. Simpson joins Twitter: ‘This should be a lot of fun.’
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Twenty-five years to the week after Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman were stabbed to death in Los Angeles — prompting a sensational murder trial and national debates about the meaning of justice, celebrity and institutional racism — the acquitted suspect O.J. Simpson has announced he is joining Twitter, where such arguments never really end.

“You’ll get to read all my thoughts and opinions on just about everything,” a grinning Simpson said in a video uploaded to his new account late Friday. The former NFL running back and actor appeared against a backdrop of palm trees and green lawns, vaguely recalling the wealthy Brentwood neighbourhood where his ex-wife and her friend Goldman were found covered in blood on the morning of June 13, 1994.

“This should be a lot of fun. I got a little getting even to do,” Simpson, now 71, told the camera. “So God bless, and take care. ”

Simpson’s 1995 murder trial inflamed the American public before the internet as we know it existed. A black football legend-turned-beloved star of movies and TV, he was accused of killing Brown Simpson and Goldman in a jealous rage, leading police on a brief chase and leaving detectives with a glut of forensic evidence linking him to the crime.

Former NFL star OJ Simpson in court during his sentencing hearing at the Clark County Regional Justice Centre in Las Vegas, Nevada before his parole in 2017. Issac Brekken / AFP/Getty

But as TV news crews obsessively covered the trial, Simpson’s defence team portrayed him as the scapegoat of a racist, corrupt Los Angeles Police Department, highlighting detective Mark Fuhrman’s repeated use of the n-word to undermine his role in the investigation.

When a jury later found Simpson not guilty, polls showed that white and black Americans were sharply divided in their reactions to the verdict.

Simpson has spent the years since his acquittal in a state of faded celebrity and lingering suspicion – not to mention other courtrooms. Several years after his acquittal, he was ordered to pay tens of millions of dollars to the victims’ families in a wrongful-death lawsuit. In 2008, he was convicted of stealing sports memorabilia at gunpoint, and subsequently spent much of the social media era in prison, until his release on parole two years ago.

The racial gulf exposed by the 1994 murders has closed, somewhat, in the decades since. A 2014 CNN poll found that most blacks now believe Simpson killed his ex-wife and her friend.

But the effect of the trial on popular culture has endured, and it’s often cited as a precursor to the age of reality TV and news-as-entertainment.

For examples, several of Simpson’s defence attorneys have gone on to become celebrities in their own right, as have the children of his friend – and member of his legal team – Robert Kardashian, whose social media stardom Simpson will now try to match.

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