In the days since FX premiered the first episode of The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story on Tuesday, February 2, celebrities have been speaking out about the TV portrayal of the landmark 1995 murder case.
Norman Pardo, Simpson’s longtime friend and former manager, told Good Morning America on Thursday, February 4, that he didn’t think Cuba Gooding Jr.’s turn as Simpson was convincing — or accurate.
“I’m sure he’s a really nice guy and all, but he’s definitely not like O.J. Simpson,” Pardo said. “They never consulted, I don’t think, anybody from O.J.’s side to explain that that’s not O.J. It doesn’t even sound like him. … He did the best he could, I guess. It’s just O.J. Simpson has a charisma about him. He’s a good-looking guy, he’s a ladies’ man, big guy, football player. When he walks into a room everybody runs to him, the women… [Cuba Gooding Jr.] doesn’t look like O.J. in any way, shape, or form, and definitely doesn’t sound like him.”
Additionally, Pardo added, the team who put together the docuseries didn’t really take into account that Simpson, 68, had some childlike tendencies — possibly brought about by head traumas he sustained as a football player during his 14-year career as a running back.
“O.J. has a lot of issues,” Pardo said. “He’ll do things that are just whacked out. He’ll sit in a corner and he’ll talk to himself. He’ll answer himself. And I’ve caught him doing that numerous times … He doesn’t really understand a lot of things. … When you handle him he’s like a child.”
Pardo gave an example of Simpson’s decision to commit a robbery in 2008 at the Palace Station Hotel in Las Vegas.
“Like Vegas, when he went into that room. He knew better,” Pardo said. “He called me and I told him, ‘Don’t go in there,’ but he did it because he doesn’t understand things.”
Although he was acquitted in the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, Simpson is currently serving 33 years in prison for robbery and kidnapping involving sports-memorabilia dealers. Asked whether he thought the former football star would watch the FX series, Pardo said it was likely.
“He’ll say he won’t but he always does,” he said. “It’s about him, even though it’s fictional or what not. It’s still about him, so he’ll watch. Somehow, they’ll figure out a way to do it.”
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