LOS ANGELES, Dec 15 - Weeks after News Corp. scrapped plans for a book and TV
interview in which O.J. Simpson described how he would have killed his ex-wife
and her friend, the publisher behind the projects, Judith Regan, has been fired,
HarperCollins said on Friday.
Word of Regan's dismissal from the News Corp.-owned publishing house came in
a terse press release headlined "HarperCollins Terminates Judith Regan."
The statement said her termination was effective immediately. No explanation
"The Regan publishing program and staff will continue as part of the
HarperCollins General Books Group," the statement said.
Regan was not immediately available for comment.
The move followed ill-fated plans unveiled last month for a book, titled "If
I Did It," and accompanying television interview featuring Simpson giving a
hypothetical account of how he would have carried out the 1994 murders of his
ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman.
The book had been set for release by Regan's imprint at HarperCollins,
ReganBooks, on November 30, following a two-part interview of Simpson by Regan
on News Corp.'s Fox network.
But the publishing and TV venture drew a firestorm of criticism accusing News
Corp. of seeking to capitalize on a human tragedy. Days after plans for the book
and TV special were revealed, News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch personally
weighed in to announce both projects were being scrapped.
Murdoch said then that the book and TV deal were "ill-considered" and he
apologized for any harm caused.
Simpson has always maintained that he was innocent and was acquitted of
murder charges. But a civil court jury later found him liable for the deaths.