The O.J. Simpson Case
25 Years Later
Throughout those tumultuous twenty-five years has been an ongoing media frenzy, court cases, rampant speculation, books, attorney’s careers careening, Kardashians (for crying out loud!), and now most recently a podcast offering.
Confronting: O.J. Simpson
Confronting: O.J. Simpson with Kim Goldman is a podcast by the sister of the bystander Ron Goldman who wound up slain alongside Nicole Brown-Simpson. Produced by Wondery, Confronting is a brave endeavor by host Kim Goldman to go back in time and interview all of the major players in the case.
Kim attempts to clear up all of the “fog of war” caused by the trial in the hopes of garnering a sobering perspective on the case. In the end, after all, we must remember two people were brutally murdered and their loved ones were left heartbroken and ravaged.
Who Was Ron Goldman?
Ultimately, I get the sense from the overall tone of the show that Kim Goldman’s goal is to talk to O.J. Simpson face to face at some point. In episode one, “The Life and Death of Ron Goldman” we take a deep dive into the person that Ron Goldman was narrated through the eyes of his loving sister.
Kim pulls no punches as she talks about the rocky relationship that she and her brother had with their mother. She reflects on their father Fred whose pained face was burned into the conscience of the public eye as he poured out his emotions on a daily basis in front of the scoop hungry media. We hear from close connections of Ron Goldman’s past who help paint the picture of a loyal and fun-loving friend.
Confronting: O.J. Simpson is a refreshing documentary piece in that we can calmly learn about the victims of this case rather than through the lens of attorney’s misdirecting our attention and muddying the waters with a tactical disinformation campaign. Goldman even states point-blank that she seeks as her goal to literally confront Simpson.
The “Why” Behind The Podcast
There is no doubt or denying that the podcast is biased in that the Goldmans and their supportive circle portray O.J. Simpson as “guilty” and definitively as the murderer of Ron Goldman. Although O.J. Simpson was ultimately acquitted in the criminal case, a civil court had deemed Simpson responsible for the death of Goldman and Brown.
Some critics could make an argument that this podcast is a way for Kim Goldman to enact revenge on O.J. Simpson by smearing his name throughout the podcast-sphere. However, I do not believe that is the point of the show, especially from the listener's perspective.
I think it is important to look at this case through the sobering lens of history. Kim talks to the major players that were involved in an attempt to get an alternate and fresh perspective on the case.
It is a chance to move beyond the previous insanity that ensued through a slew of dream-team attorneys, compelling characters, and other players that made the O.J. Simpson trial one of the most notorious court spectacles ever in modern history.
For Kim herself, the show is a cathartic process to continue to try and move through decades of grief and angst while informing the world who her dear brother was.
I thought one of the most fascinating facets of the podcast was Kim Goldman’s interview with prosecutor Marcia Clarke. Goldman and Clarke both concede that as the trial wore on the families of the victims became estranged from the prosecutor's office, a once inviting and supportive presence for the Goldmans, particularly due to Clarke’s growing isolation and withdrawal from the Goldmans.
Marcia Clarke explains that she was under a tremendous amount of pressure from the high profile case and her demands with the media only increased as the case intensified, but perhaps what was less known at the time was that Clarke was simultaneously enduring a grueling family custody dispute with her recently divorced spouse.
Perhaps it is this personal battle behind the scenes that caused the prosecuting office of L.A. County to make some of the head-scratching blunders that led to Simpson's acquittal despite the preponderance of evidence against him.
Reclaiming The Narrative
Although the podcast takes its many shots at besmirching O.J. Simpson's character and points the finger at the overwhelming evidence against O.J., I do not believe that it is the entire intent of Kim Goldman’s motivation for making this show.
For one, I think telling her family's side of the story was of great importance to her. The media has dictated the way everyone was portrayed for so long and I feel this platform is a way for Kim Goldman to regain control of the narrative surrounding her beloved brother.
I also do sincerely believe that Goldman wants to “confront” O.J. Simpson face to face. After all, she had attempted to visit him while he was incarcerated to no avail. Now that O.J. Simpson had recently been released from prison, shining a light on him via her podcast is a way to accomplish that goal.
Confronting: O.J. Simpson with Kim Goldman is a great podcast that re-tells the tragic tale of the murder of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman. After 25 years, this is a podcast that benefits from the passage of time.
With emotions that have been somewhat calmed down and without a defense attorney team bombarding the 24-hour news cycle with constant smoke and mirrors, Kim Goldman is able to pause, take a breath, and recount the story through the lens of a victim’s family.
As listeners of this podcast, we are let inside the world of a sister who tragically lost her brother. Through this show we begin to understand, as stated during an episode, that time does not heal all wounds.