Ford is correcting what was almost either one of the biggest oversights or most tasteless jokes in automotive history and decided to delay unveiling its long-awaited Ford Bronco SUV so that it would not fall on the birthday of one of the vehicles’ most notorious passengers, O.J. Simpson.
Earlier this week, the automaker dropped a teaser announcement on Instagram about the big reveal, scheduled for July 9:
Ford announced on Twitter Friday that the date has been pushed forward to Monday, July 13.
July 9, 2020, happens to also be O.J. Simpson’s 73 birthday. We reached out to Ford earlier this week and a representative told us the date sync was purely coincidental.
While that made some chuckle a bit, it’s important to remember that this pop culture moment was kicked off with the horrible murder of two people. Tanya Brown, sister of murder victim and Simpson’s ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson, certainly did not find the humor in it. She told the Detroit Free Press about the daily struggle of living without her sister and the mark Nicole Brown Simpson left on the world:
Tanya Brown didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when she learned that Ford Motor Co. planned to reveal the all-new Ford Bronco on July 9.
“Is that on purpose?” she asked. “My first reaction was, ‘are you kidding me? This is funny?’ “
The Brown family is surprised the world premiere of the popular SUV falls on the birthday of former football star Orenthal James “O.J.” Simpson, who led police on a slow-speed chase in a Ford Bronco through Los Angeles after the stabbing deaths of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman in 1994.
“I just don’t know if it’s a good marketing twist,” Tanya Brown, Nicole’s sister, told the Free Press.
The timing was “purely coincidental,” a Ford spokesman said.
Tanya Brown wondered whether people realize that the case also involved domestic violence. In fact, the domestic abuse of Nicole Brown Simpson created a national outpouring that has endured all these years.
“Thousands, I can’t tell you, thousands of letters came to our home,” Tanya Brown said.
Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman were murdered on June 12, 1994. The resulting police pursuit a few days later of O.J. Simpson on a slow-speed chase in a Ford Bronco through Los Angeles became famous. Simpson’s friend and former teammate Al Cowlings drove the vehicle while the football player and comedic actor lay in the backseat threatening to kill himself. It was the live event that gripped America, and the ensuing trial, which ended in a not-guilty verdict for Simpson, was the television event of the century. That white Ford Bronco is burned into the memory of those who watched the two-hour chase live and the clips played over and over again on evening news reports for weeks afterward.
It certainly seems like a strange event for Ford to want to associate itself and its products with. Maybe this is an example of humanity’s collective subconscious unknowingly compelling some PR exec into associating the Bronco with such an important date to Simpson. Or maybe it was just an honest mistake. Either way, changing the date was the right decision.