“The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” has hit the airwaves to much fanfare.
Its 5.11 million viewers made the episode the highest-rated show on all of cable for that night and the most-watched debut in the history of FX.
Americans undoubtedly are fascinated by Simpson’s sordid tale, but according to radio host and WND columnist Jesse Lee Peterson, most Americans don’t fully understand what caused Simpson to devolve from a football star into a prison inmate.
When Peterson looks at Simpson, he sees the same disorder that afflicts many of the black men he helps through his nonprofit organization, BOND, or Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny.
“O.J. has spiritual problems, and now he’s sunk so low into hell within himself that nothing is going to help O.J. unless he forgives,” Peterson said recently on his radio show.
“He has to forgive his father first so that God can forgive him and then he can be free.”
While doing research for his latest book, “The Antidote,” Peterson discovered some shocking tidbits about Simpson’s father, Jimmy Simpson.
He separated from Simpson’s mother and abandoned his family when O.J. was five. He came out as a homosexual and spent his time in the Castro District, known as one of San Francisco’s “gay” neighborhoods.
Later, Jimmy Simpson became a drag queen known as “Sweet Jimmy.” He died of AIDS in 1986.
“So just imagine being five years old, your father leaves the home as a homosexual, coming out as a homosexual, becoming a drag queen and dying with AIDS,” Peterson said. “That’s enough to make you want to hate as a kid, and I personally don’t believe that O.J. has ever gotten over that.”
Peterson noted people close to Simpson say he has a lot of anger that he has not dealt with. Indeed, the Juice’s troubles with the law have gone well beyond his infamous trial for the murders of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman, when he was acquitted of criminal counts.
In 1989, Brown accused Simpson of spousal abuse, to which he pleaded no contest. In 2001, Simpson was arrested in Florida for yanking the glasses off another motorist during a traffic dispute. In 2008, he was sentenced to prison, where he still resides, after he and a group of men allegedly broke into a room and stole sports memorabilia at gunpoint.
Peterson sees Simpson’s delinquent lifestyle as a result of the anger he likely feels toward the father who abandoned him for life as a drag queen.
“O.J. is an example of what’s wrong with the average black man and woman today,” Peterson explained. “It starts in that home. But because it’s a spiritual thing, it happens in other races too, not just in the black community, but we haven’t dealt with it in the black community, so it’s out of control.”
In Peterson’s view, Simpson was the victim of a failed parent – but plenty of other notable blacks have been similar victims.
In “The Antidote,” Peterson tells the stories of Malcolm X, Tupac Shakur, Kanye West, Barack Obama, Trayvon Martin and slain Ferguson teen Michael Brown.
All of them had fathers who were either absent or abusive, and all of them grew up angry.
These examples, according to Peterson, provide snapshots of life in the black community. He maintained black families do not get destroyed by racism, but by poor parenting.
“The worst thing that can happen to children is to have weak parents,” Peterson said. “It is the worst thing. So that’s what’s going on with O.J. O.J. has a spiritual issue that needs to be dealt with.”