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OJ Simpson book cancelled

November 21, 2006 14:26 IST

American football star O J Simpson's book, which gives a hypothetical account of his wife's and her friend's killings, has been cancelled following widespread criticism.

"The senior management and I agree with the American public that this was an ill conceived project. We are sorry for any pain that this has caused to the families of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson," News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch said in a statement.

News Corp is the parent company of publisher Harper Collins, which would have published the book, slated to be released on November 30.

Simpson, a former football star, was acquitted of the murder charges after a high profile jury trial.

However, in a separate trial, a civil jury in 1997 found him liable and awarded $33.5 million in damages to be paid to the victims' families.

But, Simpson refused to pay.

"I'm going to tell you a story you've never heard before, because no one knows this story the way I know it," Simpson was quoted as saying.

Murdoch has also cancelled the telecast of Simpson's interview on his channel, Fox. Even before the decision was announced, a dozen Fox affiliates had already confirmed that they would not air the two-part special, scheduled for November 27 and 29, the network said.

The announcement of the book deal and TV special had drawn flak not only from people, media commentators and analysts but also from families of the murdered, who accused News Corp of trying to cash in on their tragedy.

"He destroyed my son and took from my family Ron's future and life. And for that I'll hate him always and find him despicable," Fred Goldman had said.

Considering the book to be Simpson's confession, would-be publisher Judith Regan acknowledges that the author does not directly say that he killed his former wife and her friend.

Simpson, Regan said, was not paid for the book but a third party who owns the rights told her that the royalty would go to his children.

Numerous staff members at the News Corp and the Fox network, on condition of anonymity, said they were thankful the company had abandoned the project, a New York Times report said.

Internally, the project had been considered a disaster for the company, the report quoted a News Corp executive as saying.

Although the company remains tightlipped about the exact details of the project, the report quoted one executive involved in the negotiations about the book and the interview as saying that Murdoch was aware of both deals before they were announced publicly last week.

The executive told the paper on telephone that payments to representatives of Simpson would probably still have to be made for his participation in the book and the television interviews.

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