This is the first part of a multi-part series which aims to be the most comprehensive compilation of well-sourced, credible information about O.J. Simpson and domestic violence. Part one focuses on the first Mrs. Simpson.
O.J. Simpson and Domestic Violence: A Multi-Part Investigative Series. Part 1: The First Mrs. Simpson
Introduction – About This Series:
Facts didn’t matter, coverage of any kind was a way of keeping the story alive.
It was the coverage that mattered, not the content.”
From: “OJ Mania: The Media Trial of OJ Simpson” BBC 2. September 1994.
The O.J. Simpson trial was a watershed moment for how Americans think about domestic violence; many believe that if not for the O.J. Simpson saga thrusting domestic violence into the national spotlight, there would not have been enough support to pass the federal Violence Against Women Act. The Act, which strengthened and intensified domestic violence laws, investigative procedures, detention of accused batterers and restitution was passed by Congress and enacted in August 1994. Neil Jacobson, professor of psychology at the University of Washington in Seattle who specializes in domestic violence told the New York Times in October 1995 that the O.J. Simpson “case is to domestic violence what the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas case is to sexual harassment.”
The media helped begin a national dialogue about domestic violence at a time that the media industry itself was experiencing their own changes. In 1994 the O.J. Simpson saga was responsible for causing a seismic shift in American journalism; Paul Thaler’s 1997 book The Spectacle: Media and the Making of the O.J. Simpson Story documents this sprawling tale of the news media grappling with their role as news-reporting entities; seduced by the values of entertainment and tabloidism; and faced with increased competition, fragmented audiences, and frantic pressure to keep both eyes on the bottom line.
In The Spectacle, Thaler writes:
Compounding media mistakes was the problem of “the echo chamber” effect. Here, news organizations picked up erroneous stories from other media outlets and, failing to fact-check, ran with them. The repetition of bad news had the effect of contaminating the entire media, from small local news stations to the national wire services. While it is normal practice for the news media to carry stories from different newspapers and TV stations, and accept a certain amount of risk, the Simpson story was the equivalent to handling a live grenade. No one knew when one story would blow up, destroying the credibility of one or more news organizations.
– Paul Thaler. “The Spectacle: Media and the Making of the O.J. Simpson Story” Page 28.
Following the October 1995 verdict, the Los Angles Times published a nine part series examining the media’s impact on the O.J. trial; part five addressed the plethora of inaccurate stories that were published throughout the trial. Professor Charles Ogletree Jr. of Harvard Law School told the Times that the media coverage of the Simpson saga represented “not only carelessness but a callous disregard for accuracy.” Journalist Gregg Jarrett [then] of Court TV explained that the Simpson trial was responsible for the proliferation of reporting unverified information “Journalists started relying on other journalists for information; ‘NBC is reporting that ABC is reporting that… blah-blah-blah is happening…They were going with unnamed, undisclosed sources, without one or two corroborating sources. That’s wrong, and it was rampant in the beginning.”
The tsunami of misinformation was so enormous that in August 1994 Superior Court Judge Lance A. Ito shared his concerns: “Most of the news media accounts have been factual… However, there are glaring examples of rank rumor and speculation, prurient sensationalism and outright fabrication that are the result of competitive commercial journalism.”
With this in mind, we will be examining various facets of the O.J. Simpson case in order to weed out the unverified rumor and innuendo and establish the actual facts.
The first topic we have chosen to focus on is O.J. Simpson’s History of Domestic Violence. It is our goal for this multi-part series is to publish the most comprehensive compilation of well-sourced, credible information about O.J. Simpson and domestic violence.
On the Topic of Domestic Violence
For background, our position on domestic violence is one of zero tolerance: There is absolutely no justification for violence against one’s partner whether it physical or mental violence. Anyone who commits such violence even once, including O.J. Simpson, is a scumbag. Period.
As a society we, rightly, treat O.J. Simpson and former Baltimore Raven Ray Rice like pariahs for abusing women. But unfortunately, the news media rarely holds accountable so many public figures who assault their partner. We encourage you to watch 100 Celebrities Arrested for Domestic Abuse, a short documentary released in 2016 which documents 100 famous domestic abusers who were given a free pass by the media and, in turn, not held accountable by the public.
While the news media and the public began to treat Ray Rice like a pariah immediately after the release of the horrific footage of Rice punching his now-wife, the backlash against O.J. Simpson for his act of domestic abuse only began following the death of Nicole Brown Simpson.
As a society we should view every single one of the men and women featured in 100 Celebrities Arrested for Domestic Abuse (and all of the men and women arrested for abusing their partners since 2016) with the same disdain, disgust and repulsion as we view O.J. Simpson and Ray Rice. The cycle of abuse will not end until the public completely rejects these abusers and any project which they are associated.
Any violence against one’s partner is unacceptable and it is never, ever justifiable – even if it only occurs once.
Part 1: The First Mrs. Simpson
Before there was O.J. and Nicole there was O.J. and Marguerite.
High School sweethearts O.J. Simpson and Marguerite Whitley were married June 24, 1967 in their hometown of San Francisco.
On December 4, 1968 the Simpson’s experienced two milestones: the birth of their first child, a daughter named Arnelle and O.J. was voted as the most outstanding player in college football in the United States and awarded the Heisman Trophy. A year and a half later, the couple welcomed a second child, a son they named Jason.
O.J. and Marguerite’s third child, daughter Aaren, was born on September 24, 1977. On August 28, 1979 the St. Petersburg Times reported the heartbreaking details of Aaren Simpson’s tragic death; you can read that article by clicking the image on the right below.
O.J. and Marguerite divorced in March 1979 but remained close friends. In fact, throughout his 1995 trial the former Mrs. Simpson often attended court proceedings to support her former husband and their children.
June 1994: LAPD Interview Marguerite Simpson Thomas
After O.J. was arrested and charged with the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Lyle Goldman, it seemed like everyone (LAPD, the District Attorney’s Office and the media) wanted to talk to Marguerite about her ex-husband and their marriage.
Marguerite Simpson Thomas was compelled to speak with LAPD detectives because she was one of the people called by a suicidal O.J. Simpson on the day he was supposed to surrender on murder charges. According to court documents, during the call O.J. told her he was framed and wanted to kill himself. The same court documents establish that during the same late-June 1994 interview Marguerite told police she was “never battered or beat up” or physically assaulted by O.J. Simpson.
June 1994: LAPD Officer Tells Geraldo O.J. Abused His First Wife
Despite her official statement to LAPD detectives, on June 24, 1994 the Orlando Sentinal reported:
|Key Excerpt: A former police officer told the CNBC |
program Rivera Live that Simpson’s first wife, Marguerite,
once claimed that Simpson choked, kicked and punched her,
but that she chose not to file a complaint.
LAPD Officer Terry G. Schauer, is the only person to ever claim that O.J. Simpson physically abused Marguerite. Instead of sharing this information with his superiors or the District Attorney’s Office, Officer Schauer told his tale to Geraldo Rivera in June 1994.
Nearly five months after telling his tale to the man who found an empty gin bottle in Al Capone’s vault, Schauer shared his story with the District Attorney’s Office.
Terry G. Schauer, a senior officer in the Los Angeles Police Department, disclosed that about 20 years earlier, he had responded to a “domestic violence radio call” at Mr. Simpson’s residence. Mr. Simpson was not at home.
“His first wife was there with two small children,” his statement says. “She told us that she had been hit by her husband, O. J. Simpson, who left the location. I don’t recall if there was any visible injury.” He said other officers then took Marquerite Simpson and her children to a Holiday Inn, where they spent the night.
The New York Times, January 18, 1995
Officer Schauer’s story of an alleged 1970’s domestic violence incident involving O.J. Simpson was not the only tale that Schauer told prosecutors about O.J. The same New York Times article shared that Officer Schauer claimed that he had a troubling encounter with O.J. Simpson in the early 1990’s:
He got to see Mr. Simpson, when he gave him a speeding ticket. “Mr. Simpson was verbally abusive to me,” he recalled. “He called me a punk and a rookie, and he told me that the only reason I was writing him was to make a name for myself.”
Mr. Schauer said he considered calling in additional officers, and twice ordered Mr. Simpson to back away. He said Mr. Simpson eventually got back into his Bentley, and thanked him before driving away.
The New York Times, January 18, 1995.
It is important to note that there are no LAPD records which substantiate either of these claims and, to date, no LAPD officer has come forward to corroborate either of Officer Schauer’s claims.
LAPD Officer Terry G. Schauer: True Tales or Celebrity Mad Libs?
Although we were unable to locate any material which verified either claim made by Officer Terry G. Schauer, our research uncovered a news report which causes one to seriously question Schauer’s credibility: a 2003 National Enquirer in which Officer Schauer tells his tale of being verbally abused by a celebrity during a traffic stop, except in this version of Schauer’s tale O.J. Simpson has transformed from a Black male to a White female named Barbara Streisand:
March 18, 2003
Potty mouth Barbara Streisand
[Former Los Angeles police officer Terry] Schauer said he stopped Streisand for running a red light in the 1970s — and she erupted in an obscenity-filled rage.”She gave me the worst verbal abuse I got in my entire career.
“I was stopped at a red light when this Thunderbird convertible goes straight through the red light. I couldn’t believe it. I’m sitting in a police car in my uniform, but it made no difference.”
Schauer gave chase and stopped Streisand’s car.
“I didn’t recognize her at first.
“I told her I’d stopped her for running the red light — and for the whole 10 minutes I was writing her a ticket, she was cussing me up one side and down the other. Every other word was the F-word.
“As she’s cussing me out, I’m thinking her voice sounds familiar. Suddenly I realize, ‘This is Barbara Streisand!’ I’d gotten her driver’s license, but it was in the name of Barbra Gould.”
Streisand’s ex-husband is Elliott Gould.
“I said, ‘Miss Streisand, I can’t believe you’re coming so unhinged over something like a traffic ticket.’
“She called me ‘pitiful’ — and was still cursing as she drove off!”
Either LAPD Officer Terry G. Schauer is the Forrest Gump of the LAPD or was a braggart who told his tall tales to anyone who would listen; but lacking the creativity to invent multiple tales Schauer seems to have simply retold the same fictional tale changing the name of the celebrity — like a child playing Mad Libs.
It is most concerning that instead of believing or accepting Marguerite Simpson Thomas’ truth which she freely shared in her statement to LAPD, the news media chose to ignore Marguerite’s denial that O.J. had ever abused her. However, they didn’t simply turn a blind eye to reality, the media chose to believe the tale LAPD Officer Terry G. Schauer told to Geraldo Rivera despite Schauer not providing anything or anyone that might verify his tall tale. So desperate to push a narrative of their own creation, the media pushed unverified rumor and silenced the truth shared by Marguerite.
Frustrated by the fact that the news media was ignoring her statement to LAPD and pushing Schauer’s baseless claim, Marguerite appeared with Barbara Walters on the ABC news magazine 20/20. Jet Magazine published a detailed account of the January 27 1995 interview in the magazine’s February 13, 1995 issue:
Despite claims to the contrary made by individuals with questionable credibility, there is zero evidence which indicate that O.J. Simpson ever physically abused his first wife. In the 20+ years since the trial Marguerite Simpson Thomas has maintained that O.J. Simpson never abused her.
This was the first part of a multi-part series investigating O.J. Simpson’s History of Domestic Violence. In part-two our focus will turn to the relationship between O.J. Simpson and Nicole Brown Simpson.