Last week, when Ford Motor Company announced the release date for the new Ford Bronco, a vehicle that has been out of production since 1996, people were quick to realize that the date was a curious choice considering the SUV's storied affiliation.
The Michigan-produced Bronco will hit sales lots on July 9, according to a tweet posted by Ford.
July 9 is also O.J. Simpson's 73rd birthday.
07/09/20. The Wild Returns. #FordBronco #BuiltWild pic.twitter.com/KQSPQrtdu7— Ford Motor Company (@Ford) June 13, 2020
In 1994, 95 million people found themselves glued to the television as the former NFL star lead a slow 60-mile police chase in a white Ford Bronco after he was charged with the gruesome murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ron Goldman.
Nicole Brown Simpson's sister, Tanya Brown, told The Detroit Free Press she wasn't sure as to why the date was chosen, and questions if this was “a marketing twist” made by Ford to hype up the new model.
“Is that on purpose? My first reaction was, ‘are you kidding me? This is funny?’”
Ford Spokesman Mike Levine told Freep that the timing of the debut is “a pure coincidence.” He also said Ford is sticking to the release date despite the controversy.
Simpson was found not guilty on both murder counts in 1995 after an 11-month long trial, which produced the infamous line uttered by Simpson's attorney, Johnnie Cochran, “If it doesn't fit, you must acquit,” after the prosecutors requested Simpson try on the glove found at the scene of the murders. When he did, he theatrically struggled to fit them to his hands.
The strongest piece of evidence linking Simpson to the murders, however, was the blood splatter from Nicole, Goldman, and Simpson, found in and on the Bronco.
Simpson's SUV has been on display at the Alcatraz East crime museum in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., since 2016. Though Simpson's agent Mike Gilbert, who still owns the vehicle, attempted to sell it for $1.3 million on an episode of Pawn Stars in 2017, around the same time Simpson was released from prison after serving 9 years of a 33-year sentence for armed robbery and kidnapping. His release came 10 years after Simpson released a book written in partnership with a ghostwriter titled, If I Did It, in which he hypothetically describes how he would have committed the murders if he had in fact committed the murders.
The reactions to Ford's decision were mixed, though many people seem to call bullshit on Ford claiming it was a coincidence.
Ford debuts the brand new Ford Bronco on July 9th. July 9th is also OJ Simpson’s bday. Ford claims they had no idea. Cmon son. pic.twitter.com/o31sA267N8— Big Rob ⚡️ (@BigRobEnergy) June 18, 2020
Some thought it was top-notch marketing, others thought it was downright hilarious.
The Ford marketing team is BRILLIANT— Kimmy (@KimElanges) June 16, 2020
Ford Bronco will be unveiled July 9, OJ Simpson's birthday https://t.co/AMsw5cFR7A via @detroitnews
The new Ford Bronco will debut on July 9th.....OJ Simpson's birthday. Somebody at @ford has a wicked sense of humor. pic.twitter.com/Gq16eOsCGx— Kevin Brueck (@kevinbrueck) June 16, 2020
So since they’re releasing the new Ford Bronco on Oj’s birthday I wonder if it will come with a free pair of gloves in the glove box?— 🎼Senpai Papi 🥁 (@Txdrumr1) June 16, 2020
New Ford Bronco being released on OJ Simpson’s birthday is next level marketing.— Sebastian (@th3Crab) June 16, 2020
There appears to be a lot of pushback, too. Some people have suggested Ford select a new date and commit to donating sales to domestic violence organizations. Others simply think it's tasteless and tone-deaf to celebrate an “alleged” murderer. A few people have pledged to never buy Ford products.
Releasing the new bronco on @TheRealOJ32 birthday is shallow cry for car sales @Ford. Maybe you could release all your vechicles on the birthdates of killers. And @Ford says it’s purely coincidental, yeah ok.— Jeremy Garvin (@jeremy_garvin79) June 16, 2020
OK, Ford, this is kinda effed up.— Chip Franklin (@chipfranklin) June 16, 2020
What's next, celebrate Jeffery Dahmer with a cookbook?https://t.co/qbfKXxgPCM
Not sure what Ford is saying by bringing back the Ford Bronco on OJ's birthday but I'm not a fan.— Elijah C 🦥 (@E_Cohen19) June 15, 2020
Ford unveiling the new Bronco on OJ Simpson’s birthday is 2020 in a nutshell.— Matt Morlang (@MattMorlang) June 16, 2020
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