Nicole Brown’s sister slams Ford for releasing SUV 'Bronco' on OJ Simpson’s birthday: 'Are you kidding me?'

The Brown family was stunned to learn that a new version of the popular SUV was slated to be unveiled on the birthday of former football star, who led law enforcement on a slow-speed chase in a Ford Bronco just days after the tragedy


                            Nicole Brown’s sister slams Ford for releasing SUV 'Bronco' on OJ Simpson’s birthday: 'Are you kidding me?'
Nicole Brown Simpson and OJ Simpson (Getty Images)

Tanya Brown, the sister of Nicole Brown Simpson, couldn't believe it when she learned the proposed July 9 debut date of the all-new Ford Bronco coincided with O.J. Simpson's birthday. “Is that on purpose?” she asked the Detroit Free Press. “My first reaction was, ‘Are you kidding me? This is funny?”

The Brown family was stunned to learn that the popular SUV was slated to be unveiled on the birthday of former football star Orenthal James "O.J." Simpson, who led law enforcement on a slow-speed chase in a Ford Bronco just days after the stabbing deaths of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman in 1994.

“I just don’t know if it’s a good marketing twist,” Tanya told the Free Press.

Ford Motor Company vice president of design J Mays introduces the new Ford Bronco concept vehicle at the North American International Auto Show on January 4, 2004, in Detroit, Michigan. (Getty Images)

The timing was later described by a spokesperson for the Ford Motor Co. as "purely coincidental." The car manufacturer announced on Friday that it had since moved the debut date from July 9 to July 13 so it wouldn't coincide with the birthday. “The reveal of the all-new Ford Bronco lineup will now happen on Monday, July 13,” company spokesman Mark Truby tweeted on Friday. “The previously targeted date of July 9 unintentionally coincided with O.J. Simpson’s birthday,” he added. “We wanted to be sensitive and respectful of this concern.”

Tanya told the Free Press how the painful trauma of an 11-month trial remains fresh till today. She said it's been especially hard for their mother Juditha Brown, who buried her daughter all those years ago. "She’s one who has remained very private, very quiet," Tanya, 50, said of her mother. "She asked me, 'Why is it that I'm reflecting on the past? Why am I thinking about the trial?' " 

Tanya held an online candlelight vigil on June 12, the day her elder sister died. Her mother also stood alongside as they held the vigil live on Facebook. Speaking to the Free Press, she recalled how the family had recently viewed photos and footage from O.J. and Nicole's wedding. "We have moved on but you don't forget. You learn to live without that person. It gets easier with time. I think that's a defense we've all been given any time somebody dies."

The Brown family has, over the years, become used to seeing their name in headlines associated with the so-called 'trial of the century' that concluded with the acquittal of Simpson - albeit he later lost a wrongful death civil case.

OJ Simpson and Nicole Brown Simpson (Getty Images)

The notorious 1994 chase saw former football player Al Cowlings, the driver of the Bronco, call 911 and report that Simpson had a gun and had threatened to end his life in the backseat. The dramatic event was captured live on TV as a number of police and media helicopters followed it from the skies.

Mark Schirmer, a spokesman for Cox Automotive, told the Free Press he can't forget the chase. "I remember being at a tailgate party ahead of a Tigers game near Michigan and Trumbull when all that went down," Schirmer told the outlet. "We missed the first few innings of the game, as we were listening to reports on the radio. And I seem to recall when we finally went into the stadium, the announcers were providing updates."

Some vehicles, according to him, "are just part of our collective experience. Bronco, because of O.J., is certainly that."

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