Tiffany Cochran Edwards Reflects on the OJ Verdict, “American Crime Story: The People v. OJ Simpson”

Note: The FX limited series, “American Crime Story: The People v. OJ Simpson,” aired on February 2, 2016. Tiffany Cochran Edwards, daughter of Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr., wrote on Facebook about this riveting moment in time that was like no other in her life. Tiffany is now the National Brand Manager and Public Relations Director for The Cochran Firm.

Pictured: “Johnnie Cochran Opens Atlanta Office;” The Atlanta Tribune, January 1999

By Tiffany Cochran Edwards
The Cochran Firm

My Facebook posts are light, cheery, positive, and without controversy…but not today. A week from today I will either wake up relieved or disgusted … that’s because it will be the morning after the OJ Simpson Mini-Series airs on FX.

Many of you have asked how I feel about this 10-part series airing so here’s the answer in long form:

Most times when people ask me about the trial I laugh and shrug it off. But in all honesty it takes me back to an extremely painful time in my life.

Let me set the scene a bit: I was a 24-year-old main TV news anchor in a small, coastal South Carolina town. I LOVED my job. (I was on billboards!) I had a great boyfriend and a great boss, both of whom are FB friends but won’t be named, a great apartment, and a great start to my second major job in my TV news career.

During the trial and subsequent verdict, my life was turned upside down. The amount of vitriol directed at me because people disliked my father was unimaginable. I was a long way from my hometown of Los Angeles and endured death threats, nasty taunts and general misery on a daily basis. I was extremely active in my community and soon a trip to the grocery store became agony because people were soooo upset and felt like they could take it out on me. Keep in mind this was BEFORE social media so viewers could just come up to the station and voice their negative opinions about me in person! None of that “hide behind the internet” crap of today.

TCochranAs the trial drew to a close my parents begged me to quit and come home. Of course I refused: why should I quit my job because of a trial and situation hundreds of miles away I have nothing to do with? My standard line then was, “I was a journalist long before OJ was a defendant and I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to ride this thing out.” Then the verdict came down, and if you think you have vivid memories where you were during that announcement, picture this: I was holed up in my apartment with a security guard my dad had hired to protect me. I’ll never forget thinking my life really has changed forever.

You can imagine after that verdict that things went from bad to worse. I was blamed for everything from starting a race war to making a mockery of the criminal justice system. It was truly surreal! I eventually went off the air for a while and eventually realized I was a distraction to my co-workers and my station. No one asked me to leave and I remember how kind and supportive my co-workers were – many of them just as young as I was.

I knew I needed a new job in a larger, more accepting city where no one would care who my dad was, and that’s when I applied for a weekend morning anchor position at 11Alive here in Atlanta. That interview was 6 HOURS LONG, but I knew I got the job. It felt good that I took control back and got a fresh start and another chance to focus on the craft I loved so much. Atlanta saved me and I’m still here to this day – 19 years later!

Looking back on it that entire ordeal matured me in a way I can’t fully express: I realized I was a lot tougher than I thought! It made me a much more compassionate journalist AND it made me realize when you attack the CHILD of someone you don’t like (and really don’t know) you have no idea how hurtful that is and how unfair it is. But I consider it a blessing because it brought me so much closer to my family. I was already a Daddy’s Girl, but I saw the love my dad had for me in action as he made sure that if I was to stay in SC, NOTHING was going to happen to me. And, of course, my Mom was my beacon of strength during that time!

Best of all, it got me to Atlanta where I went on to have a successful 11 year run at WXIA, met my wonderful husband Javarro Edwards, had my baby girl Emerson, and realized life does go on.

So, to answer your question, how do I feel? There you have it! I’ll have much more on this in my “Just A Minute Commentary” next week on CBS46. I hope you’ll watch! Whew…that was therapeutic!

 

Source: The Cochran Firm |  www.cochranfirm.com

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