The white Ford Bronco. The black glove. The football hero at the center of America’s biggest murder scandal. From the moment news broke that O.J. Simpson was a person of interest in his estranged wife Nicole Brown’s murder, it felt like the whole nation was captivated. The subsequent criminal investigation and trial was one of the most talked about events of the 1990s. Last year’s FX anthology series, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, focused its first season on this very event. It became one of the most buzzed-about new series of 2016 — and with stellar reviews for its 10-episode run, it helped provoke renewed interest in and debate about the case. Now, with the recently announced news that O.J. Simpson has been granted parole after serving nine years in prison for a kidnapping and armed robbery incident in 2007, the notorious ex-football player is in the focus of attention once again.
But there is one aspect of O.J. Simpson’s murder trial — which lasted from November 1994 to October 1995 — that we often don’t talk about. That’s its impact on the way we interact with media, celebrity, and current events. In fact, O.J.’s time in not only criminal proceedings, but the court of public opinion, had a significant impact on pop culture. Here are a few ways that his trial captivated us and shaped our perceptions of celebrity, criminal justice, and pop culture today.