If It Doesn't Fit, You Must Acquit: Pesky O.J. Coincidence Forces Another Bronco Delay
Insisting earlier in the week that its scheduled debut date for the new Bronco was simply a coincidence, Ford has nonetheless found itself forced to push back the model’s reveal even further.
The automaker unintentionally made waves after its planned July 9th reveal of the reborn off-roader (already deferred by the pandemic and resulting trade show cancellations) coincided with the birthday of O.J. Simpson — a man forever linked to the vehicle following his low-speed 1994 cruise into infamy.
Everyone noticed, including the sister of Nicole Brown Simpson, whose 1994 murder — along with that of friend Ron Goldman — sparked the trial of the century.
As of Friday, the July 9th date is off the table.
“The reveal of the all-new Ford Bronco lineup will now happen on Monday, July 13. The previous targeted date of July 9 unintentionally coincided with O.J. Simpson’s birthday,” stated Mark Truby, vice president of communications for Ford, via Twitter.
“We wanted to be sensitive and respectful of this concern.”
Ford has a hectic product schedule this year, one made all the more complex by the disruptive arrival of the coronavirus pandemic. Trade show debuts are out, germ-free online unveilings are in. Later this month will see the reveal of the next-generation F-150, with the unibody Bronco Sport following the unveiling of the body-on-frame Bronco.
Earlier in the week, controversy sparked by the Bronco debut date reached Tanya Brown, sister of the murder victim.
“Is that on purpose?” the Detroit Free Press reports her asking. “My first reaction was, ‘are you kidding me? This is funny?’
Simpson was acquitted on two counts of murder following an 11-month trial that galvanized the world, only to then lose a wrongful death civil lawsuit. He was later charged with armed robbery and kidnapping following a 2007 incident in a Las Vegas hotel room, earning him a sentence of 33 years. He was released on parole in 2017 after serving 9 years.
Despite Ford’s insistence that the debut was merely a coincidence, the launch’s timing didn’t sit well with many, including UAW members. One president of a UAW local (Todd Dunn, Louisville) told Freep that several members had approached him with concerns.
Eventually, it became all too much, forcing Ford to distance itself from any association with the model’s most famous occupant.
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