Why Do People Hate O.J. Simpson?

O.J. Simpson is one of the most controversial public figures in recent American history. He had a successful football career, was a popular celebrity and spokesman, but is most known for being tried for the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman in 1994. Although he was acquitted in the criminal trial, he was later found liable in civil court. The combination of his celebrity status, the brutal murders, and the divisive court cases sparked extremely passionate reactions both for and against Simpson that continue to this day.

But why exactly do some people harbor such hatred for O.J. Simpson decades later? There are several factors that contribute to the animosity many feel toward him.

Reasons for Hating O.J. Simpson

He Was Found Liable for the Murders in Civil Court

Although the 1995 criminal trial ended in an acquittal, a civil case in 1997 found Simpson liable for the wrongful deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. He was ordered to pay $33.5 million in damages to the families. To many, this essentially confirmed that he got away with double murder. The not guilty verdict is seen as a miscarriage of justice.

His Behavior Fit the Profile of a Batterer

Simpson had a history of domestic violence with Nicole Brown Simpson prior to the murders. There were numerous 911 calls involving disputes between the couple and Simpson pleaded no contest to spousal battery in 1989. He also stalked and threatened Brown Simpson after they divorced. Domestic violence experts say this behavior matched typical patterns of power and control seen in abusive relationships that can potentially turn deadly.

He Was Seen as Not Showing Remorse

Critics condemned Simpson’s actions after the murders as inappropriate and unremorseful. He did not turn himself in to police and instead fled in his white Bronco with his friend Al Cowlings, leading to a televised low-speed chase watched live by millions. After his acquittal, he was perceived as arrogant and celebrating getting away with murder at times. His attitude seemed to be more focused on relishing his freedom than mourning the victims.

Racial Tensions Surrounding the Trial

The O.J. Simpson trial amplified racial divisions in America. Most African Americans believed Simpson was innocent and saw systemic racism in the prosecution and coverage of the case. In contrast, majority public opinion from white Americans thought he was guilty and got away with murder. The stark split illustrated lingering racial biases and tensions.

He Was Viewed as Abusive Toward Nicole Post-Divorce

After their divorce, Simpson was said to have stalked Brown Simpson, watched the home they once shared, and left angry messages for her. Friends and family recalled him as obsessed, jealous, and unable to move on despite their relationship being long over. This obsessive behavior toward his ex-wife after she left him further paints him as disturbed and abusive.

His Arrogant Public Persona as a Celebrity

Throughout his career, some perceived Simpson as arrogant and full of himself. As a star NFL player and then celebrity pitchman and actor, he cultivated a public image of charm, charisma, and self-confidence that often came across as narcissism and cockiness. The smug and self-assured attitude made it easy for detractors to view him as unlikeable and egotistical.

He Was Widely Believed to Be Guilty Despite the Verdict

The prevailing public opinion outside the courtroom, including among many jurors from the trial, was that Simpson was clearly guilty regardless of the not guilty verdict.Critical evidence like the bloody glove, DNA, and domestic violence history pointed toward his culpability. The acquittal was largely seen as a failure of the criminal justice system. Not being properly held accountable through the courts continues to fuel resentment.

Financial Gain from Publicity After the Trial

After Simpson’s acquittal, some perceived him as profiting off the murders by doing paid interviews, signing autographs, publishing a book titled “If I Did It,” and other publicity options. Making money connected to the deaths of his ex-wife and Ron Goldman by leveraging his fame seemed to many as shameless and unethical.

Other Factors Contributing to Dislike of O.J. Simpson

There are other aspects of O.J. Simpson’s character, crimes, and trials that magnify the hostile feelings many have against him beyond the murder charges alone:

  • His charmed life and celebrity status before the murders made the brutality of the crimes even more shocking.
  • Allegations of domestic violence and abuse toward Nicole Brown Simpson prior to the murders.
  • Lack of public remorse or sympathy expressed for the victims in aftermath of the murders.
  • The dramatic Bronco chase and his seeming intention to escape rather than surrender.
  • Him assembling a “dream team” of expensive lawyers for his defense.
  • Perception he got off easy due to race, fame, and wealth.
  • Personality perceived as narcissistic, cocky, and unlikable.
  • Later convictions and imprisonment for robbery and kidnapping in Las Vegas diminished his reputation.
  • Numerous books and TV programs consistently portraying him in a negative light over the years.

Why the Hatred Persists

Decades later, O.J. Simpson remains a reviled figure in popular culture and society. The animosity endures because:

  • The brutal murders of his ex-wife and her friend shock the consciousness.
  • He was found responsible for the deaths in the civil trial.
  • His domestic violence history provides context for the crime.
  • Many are convinced of his guilt regardless of the criminal acquittal.
  • Racial tensions surrounding the trial still resonate.
  • Some believe he got away with murder due to his wealth and fame.
  • He seemingly profited from the situation after the fact.
  • The saga damaged national unity and race relations.

The dramatic story also permanently entrenched him as the antihero in the American public imagination. Once adored, he became despised. Simpson’s mythic fall from grace validated perceptions of him as arrogant, unlikable, and violent.


The O.J. Simpson saga stands as one of the most infamous crime stories in modern history. It intertwined sports, celebrity, wealth, domestic violence, racial bias, and the legal system. Simpson inspires powerful emotions still today due to the savage murders of his ex-wife and her friend, his history of domestic abuse, belief in his guilt, controversial acquittal, and profiting from the tragedy. For many, O.J. Simpson serves as a symbol of injustice, egotism, and violence against women. The combination of factors surrounding his case perfected the formula for creating a persona non grata. Once a beloved athlete and celebrity, he is now largely despised and synonymous with getting away with murder. The hatred stems from perceptions Simpson escaped true justice, showed no remorse, and even enriched himself. For these reasons, public opinion judged O.J. Simpson as harshly as the court of law did not.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why was O.J. Simpson acquitted at trial?

Simpson was acquitted primarily because the defense team managed to raise enough doubts about the evidence and investigation to prevent the prosecution from proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The failure to properly handle and collect some evidence compromised the case.

What proof suggests O.J. Simpson’s guilt?

Incriminating proof includes Simpson’s history of abusing Brown Simpson, blood evidence placing him at the crime scene, blood found in his Bronco, a glove matching the murder weapon found on his property, and his overall behavior seeming to point to a guilty conscience.

Why did the O.J. Simpson case spark racial tensions?

Most African Americans thought Simpson was innocent due to racism tainting the case, while majority white opinion believed he was guilty. This divide illustrated clashing perspectives on police bias and the treatment of Black defendants.

How did O.J. Simpson profit off his notoriety post-acquittal?

He did paid interviews, signed autographs at events, participated in reality shows and TV specials, published the book “If I Did It” about the murders, and otherwise capitalized on his fame connected to the case.

What happened in the Las Vegas robbery that led to jail time for Simpson?

In 2007, Simpson led a group who robbed memorabilia collectors at gunpoint in a Las Vegas hotel room. He was convicted of armed robbery and kidnapping and sentenced to 33 years in 2008, serving 9 years.

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