In an account his publisher considers a confession and some media executives call revolting, O.J. Simpson plans a book and TV interview to discuss how, hypothetically, he could have killed his ex-wife and her friend.
Two weeks before the book, "If I Did It," goes on sale, scorn was being heaped on Simpson, the publisher, and Fox, which plans to air the Simpson interview in two parts Nov. 27 and 29.
Denise Brown, sister of Simpson's slain ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, lashed out at the publisher for "promoting the wrongdoing of criminals" and commercializing abuse.
Judith Regan, whose ReganBooks imprint is publishing the book, refused to say what Simpson is being paid but said he came to her with the idea. "This is an historic case, and I consider this his confession," Regan told the Associated Press.
The ex-football star was acquitted in 1995 of murdering his former wife and her friend Ron Goldman. He was later found liable for the deaths by in a wrongful-death suit filed by the Goldman family. Simpson has failed to pay the $33.5 million judgment against him in the civil case. His NFL pension and his Florida home cannot legally be seized.
Simpson did not return calls for comment. His attorney, Yale Galanter, said he did not know about the book or the interview until this week. "I did not have anything to do with the negotiations of the book," Galanter said. He said there is "only one chapter that deals with their deaths and that chapter, in my understanding, has a disclaimer that it's complete fiction."
Meanwhile, other publishers and publishing industry observers criticized ReganBooks and Simpson himself.
"This is not about being heard. This is about trying to cash in, in a pathetic way, on some notoriety," said Sara Nelson, editor in chief of Publishers Weekly.
Patricia Schroeder, president of the American Association of Publishers, described the developments as sickening. "But I think it's going to stir an awful lot of debate and make the culture take a real look at itself, and that may not be unhealthy."