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BET Awards Under Fire for O.J. Simpson Tribute


*The BET Awards have ignited a firestorm of controversy by including the late O.J. Simpson in their “In Memoriam” segment during the 2024 ceremony held on Sunday. The segment served as a tribute to notable figures in the Black community who have passed away, featuring stars like Willie Mays, Richard Roundtree, Ron Cephas Jones, Louis Gossett Jr., and Carl Weathers. Simpson was described solely as a “former NFL player.”

Tia Mowry introduced the segment, honoring the individuals as examples of “the Black excellence that we unfortunately lost this year,” emphasizing their lasting legacies. “It’s never easy to say goodbye to those who influence us, but we can take a moment to celebrate and acknowledge their contributions to the culture,” Mowry stated.

However, the inclusion of Simpson, whose football and acting career were overshadowed by a highly publicized 1995 murder trial, left many in shock. Found not guilty of killing his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman, Simpson was later held liable for their deaths in a civil suit. Audience members felt a “noticeable silence” when Simpson’s face appeared, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter, with some attendees noting whispers of disapproval. Social media erupted with backlash. One tweet read, “He should not be remembered at all.” Another Reddit user condemned the decision, stating, “Disgusting lack of empathy and compassion for the victims’ families and BET should be ashamed.”

The strongest reactions came from family members of the victims. Nicole’s sister, Tanya, told TMZ, “It’s inappropriate to give an abuser and murderer recognition.” Fred Goldman, Ron’s father, shared similar sentiments. Adding to Simpson’s notorious history, he was imprisoned for nine years following a 2007 armed robbery and kidnapping incident in Las Vegas. He succumbed to prostate cancer earlier this year at the age of 76.

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