O.J. Web Warfare

The family of Ronald Goldman has launched a Web site that lists the addresses and phone numbers of Fox Broadcasting, publisher Harper Collins and Judith Regan's imprint, ReganBooks, and urges Net surfers to boycott the corporations for giving O.J. Simpson a platform for his "fictional'' book, "If I Did It" -- a hypothetical account of the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Goldman.

The new site, www.Dontpayoj.com says that Simpson "is a vicious killer … who wants to glorify and benefit from his crimes," and adds, "If we are to live in a remotely just society, a line of decency must be drawn."

The site asks viewers to sign an online petition "and let it be known that you do not, and will not, support any entity that assists and encourages a murderer to profit from his crimes."

The Web site is the latest salvo in an increasingly postmodern battle between big media and the families of the Brentwood murder victims.

Late Thursday night, in a startling turn of events, publisher Judith Regan switched sides, acknowledging in a lengthy press release that she gave Simpson a book deal and a network interview in the hopes of wringing a confession out of him.

She said that as a battered woman herself, "Nicole and Ron were in my heart'' during her talk with Simpson, which airs later this month.

Kim Goldman told ABC News' Law & Justice Unit that the site was her family's best hope of stopping Fox from broadcasting the two-part interview with Simpson.

"It's the power of the Internet,'' she said. "This is the age that we live in, and this is the quickest and most effective way to garner support in a short period of time." Goldman said one of the attorneys who works with the family came up with the idea.

Goldman said she was surprised at how quickly the Web site seems to have taken off.

"My old boyfriend signed the [online] petition. How the heck did he find out about it?"

The new site -- whose petition list jumped from 172 to 1,241 in the course of several hours Friday morning -- is the Goldmans' latest attempt to compete with the widespread if disdainful attention Simpson draws every time he talks about the 1995 murders.

"A lot of times I get the feeling I'm living in a Thomas Pynchon novel, and this is further evidence of it," said John Perry Barlow of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit electronic rights organization.

Barlow was the first to apply science fiction writer William Gibson's term "cyberspace" to the Internet in 1990, and he has been at forefront of Internet issues since the World Wide Web's inception.

"As an ideal, I was always hoping that the Net could be a place where the individual could pick a fight with someone who bought ink by the barrel," Barlow said, paraphrasing a famous quote that has alternately been attributed to Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde and a union president named Lane Kirkland.

"As a practical matter, though, what they're going to do is increase the interest [in Simpson's project]. … It's very difficult to use publicity to decrease interest.''

Barlow said that while advocacy groups who urge Net surfers to write or e-mail their congressman are not usually effective, the kind of site the Goldmans' have launched could hurt its targets.

Online petitions are "certainly more effective when they are aimed at private enterprises than when they are aimed at the government. There is really a possibility of some economic harm."

A network spokeswoman for Fox declined to comment and a publicist for Judith Regan did not immediately return a call and an e-mail for comment.

Not everyone who signed the online petition, though, appeared to have the Goldmans' best interests at heart.

Among the signers was "Judith Regan," "Bill Clinton," "OJ WAS FOUND INNOCENT" and "PAY OJ."

Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...