Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Bill Maher Contends O.J. Simpson’s Not Guilty Verdict was Seen by African Americans as Retribution: ‘Payback’

Bill Maher (screenshot)
Bill Maher (screenshot)

*In the latest episode of “Real Time with Bill Maher,” which aired last night (03-12-24) the provocateur-in-chief once again stirred the pot with gusto with his take on the not guilty verdict of O.J. Simpson was seen as “Payback.”

Beneath the studio lights on Friday evening, Maher, alongside Piers Morgan, delved into a discussion spurred by O.J. Simpson’s recent passing from cancer—a conversation that treaded over well-worn ground with the subtlety of a freight train. They revisited that day in ’95 when Simpson’s not guilty verdict sent shock waves around the world, a verdict that Morgan decried as a mockery of justice.

Morgan was captivated by the public’s willingness to acknowledge the possibility of Simpson’s guilt while also regarding the verdict as a symbolic victory against a flawed justice system. A travesty it seemed, yet all too complex.

But Maher, assuming the cloak of sagacity, countered with the suggestion that the verdict wasn’t misinterpreted; rather, it was a moment of acute awareness for the Black community, who Maher claimed knew of Simpson’s guilt but found reason to cheer his victory in a historically biased system.

The point—hardly a fresh take—was that Simpson’s court victory was a drop in the ocean of a larger, historical narrative. It was a counterpunch by a community long subjected to systemic racism, a moment where justice, in their eyes, was served in an unserving world.

Echoing the sentiments of Charles J. Ogletree Jr., who once remarked how Simpson was embraced not as a hero or sports icon, but as a symbol of what so many felt in the African American community—a victim of a system ready to steamroll the less privileged, save for the intervention of the likes of Johnnie Cochran.

Maher didn’t dodge the fact that Simpson—the same man who had once pled no contest to spousal abuse—was an imperfect vessel for such a profound moment. (“I mean, of course.”)

Yet, Maher stressed the impossibility of reconciling two divergent American narratives and the folly of expecting uniform reactions to the verdict. To him, the true miscarriage of justice was not in the verdict itself, but in the shock expressed by white America at seeing a Black man escape the system’s clutches, albeit just this once.

Maher and Morgan found common ground in their belief that Simpson was indeed guilty—Maher pointedly cited the damning evidence as incontrovertible. Yet for Maher, the trial’s outcome was “payback”—a term used by a juror in the case when interviewed by ESPN, a reflection of a broader theme

Note: if you missed it last night on HBO, “Real Time with Bill Maher,” will also air tonight at 8pm on CNN.

MORE NEWS ON EURWEB: O.J. Attorney Carl Douglas Defends Playing Race Card: Evidence, Not Trickery! | WATCH

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