Twenty-six years almost to the day of her murder, the sister of Nicole Brown Simpson is outraged by a gaffe that could easily have been avoided with a simple Google search.
Ford Motor Company's relaunch of the new Bronco SUV was slated for July 9, 2020—O.J. Simpson's 73rd birthday.
Tanya Brown, the sister of O.J.'s slain ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson, told the Detroit Free Press that she was shocked by the news when she heard it. After being discontinued since 1996, Ford planned to rerelease an all-new Ford Bronco on July 9, the birthday of the man many believe murdered her sister and her friend, Ron Goldman, on the night of June 12, 1994.
It's worth noting Ford also announced the relaunch on June 13, the date Brown Simpson and Goldman's bodies were discovered just after midnight.
Speaking to the Free Press, Brown said:
"Is that on purpose? My first reaction was, 'are you kidding me? This is funny?'"
The Ford Bronco became infamous on June 17, 1994, four days after the brutalized bodies of Brown Simpson and Goldman were discovered at her home in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles. O.J. Simpson and his friend Al Cowlings led LAPD on a low-speed chase in his white Ford Bronco after murder charges had been filed against him earlier that morning.
The chase, which interrupted the 1994 NBA finals, was televised live to an audience of an estimated 95 million people. Ford discontinued the Bronco two years later, and it is widely believed the negative publicity from the murder case was the reason.
For its part, Ford called the relaunch date "purely coincidental."
But for Tanya Brown and her family, it was a painful reminder of their family member's terrible demise, an event that remains fresh for them all these years later.
"We have moved on but you don't forget. You learn to live without that person. It gets easier with time. I think that's a defense we've all been given anytime somebody dies... That whole event changed us."
And the Ford Bronco is forever tied to that event—not only in the Brown's minds, but in the greater cultural consciousness.
As Mark Schirmer, a spokesman for Cox Automotive told the Free Press:
"[Some vehicles] are just part of our collective experience. Bronco, because of O.J., is certainly that."
Online, many people shared Tanya Brown's outrage.
As for Ford Motor Company, the outcry has not gone unnoticed.
They moved the launch to July 13 earlier today.