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O.J. Simpson’s homophobic rage caused him to attack Nicole according to sister

Jul 20, 2017; Lovelock, NV; O.J. Simpson attends a parole hearing at Lovelock Correctional Center. Simpson is serving a nine to 33 year prison term for a 2007 armed robbery and kidnapping conviction.
O.J. Simpson at a 2017 parole hearing Photo: Jason Bean / USA TODAY NETWORK via IMAGN

A new documentary about Nicole Brown Simpson airing on Lifetime this weekend reveals the extent to which O.J. Simpson’s violent rage was triggered by homophobia.

Unlike so many examinations of O.J. and the brutal 1994 murder of his ex-wife and her friend Ron Goldman, The Life & Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson centers the story on Nicole and her experience of the late NFL player’s abuse during their seven-year marriage. According to Lifetime, the two-part doc features interviews with 50 participants, including close friends and Nicole’s three sisters, Denise, Dominique and Tanya.

As The Daily Beast reports, the first episode, premiering Saturday night, includes a recounting of a disturbing instance of O.J.’s homophobic rage that allegedly led to violence.

According to Denise, the incident occurred during a family trip to Hawaii around Christmas 1988. In the episode, Denise says she was with Nicole, O.J., their young children, and O.J.’s friend and fellow former NFL player Al Cowlings having lunch at a restaurant, when a gay couple at a nearby table complimented the Simpsons on how cute their youngest, Justin, was.

“One of the guys, he kissed Justin on the forehead, and it was like, so sweet and so nice, and as soon as we walked outside, all hell broke loose,” Denise recalls.

In archival footage, Cowlings describes what happened next: “After Nicole had let the man hold the baby, she took the baby back, O.J. supposedly had said, ‘Why did you let that gay guy hold my baby,’ or something like that,” Cowlings says. “And she says, ‘Why are you concerned about him being gay? Your father is gay.’ And O.J. got very upset. He was going to fly off the island that night.”

O.J.’s troubled relationship with his estranged father, Jimmy Lee Simpson, and his feelings about Jimmy Lee’s sexuality have frequently been put forward as at least one source of the rage that fueled his alleged violent outbursts. As the Daily Beast notes, in the Oscar-winning 2016 documentary O.J.: Made in America, LAPD officer Ron Shipp recalled Nicole asking him whether O.J. beat her because Jimmy Lee, who was reportedly a fixture of San Francisco’s drag scene, was gay.

In the Lifetime doc, Denise recalls O.J. asking Nicole, “How could you let a gay man kiss my son?” following the incident in Hawaii.

“[Nicole] ran out of the car. [O.J.] was going crazy,” Denise says. “She ended up taking off and going with my parents. I couldn’t get out of the car anymore, because he was driving like a lunatic in the parking lot, and then we ended up going back to the hotel.”

The next day, Denise says, Nicole wore a long-sleeved shirt which she refused to remove despite the heat. Denise would later discover an entry in Nicole’s diary in which she described the physical abuse she endured from O.J. following the encounter with the gay couple.

The Lifetime doc includes an image of that entry: “Gay man kissed Justin. O.J. threw me up against walls in our hotel & on the floor. Put bruises on my arms & back. The window scarred me—thought he’d throw me out,” Nicole reportedly wrote.

The Simpsons divorced in 1992, but attempts at reconciliation reportedly led to more violence, with Nicole calling the police on O.J. in October 1993. The following June, Nicole and Goldman were found stabbed to death outside her home in Brentwood, California.

Simpson was tried for the murders but was ultimately acquitted. He was later found financially liable for their deaths in a civil case. In 2006, he wrote an audacious book, If I Did It, in which he detailed how he would have hypothetically committed the murders. O.J. Simpson died earlier this year.

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