O.J. Simpson's Former Business Manager Blasts Cuba Gooding Jr.'s Portrayal in American Crime Story: 'That's Not O.J.'
"He doesn't look like O.J. in any way, shape or form and definitely doesn't sound like him," Norman Pardo said
“I’m sure he’s a very nice guy and all, but he’s definitely not like O.J. Simpson,” Pardo said. “They never consulted, I don’t think, anybody from O.J.’s side to explain that that’s not O.J. It doesn’t even even sound like him.”
According to Pardo, some of Gooding Jr.’s acting made him “laugh.”
“I don’t get it. [Gooding Jr.] did the best he could, I guess, it’s just O.J. Simpson has a charisma about him,” Pardo said. “He’s a good-looking guy, he’s a ladies man. Big guy. Football player. When he walks into a room, everybody runs to him. The women, it’s just – they called him Bait in college because of his looks … and Cuba Gooding Jr. is a nice guy but he’s not a big guy.”
“He doesn’t look like O.J. in any way, shape or form and definitely doesn’t sound like him,” Pardo added.
For his part, Gooding Jr. told PEOPLE Now the reaction to his portrayal of Simpson isn’t “one of the questions” he has to think about. “I gave my portrayal as honestly as I could and you know, I’m sure anybody who watches will have their own opinions, and thank God I don’t have to think about that,” he said.
When asked about the reports that Simpson suffers CTE – the debilitating brain disease caused by brain trauma that has been linked to football players – Pardo admitted Simpson “has a lot of issues.”
“He’ll do things that are just whacked out,” he said. “He’ll sit in a corner, he’ll talk to himself, he’ll answer himself. You know, I’ve caught him doing that numerous times. … You can’t really deal with him because he doesn’t understand a lot of things.”
In reference to Simpson’s 2008 gunpoint robbery at the Palace Station hotel in Las Vegas – the crime he’s currently imprisoned for – Pardo said: “Like, going in Vegas when he went into that room, he knew better. He called and I told him don’t go in there but he did it. Because he doesn’t understand things, he’s like a child. When he handle him, it’s like a child. You’ve got to really watch him, watch his mannerisms. I think that FX should have really contacted me just to get some of my video footage. I’ve got 70 hours of him. Just to learn his mannerisms and find out what he’s like to be around.”
Today, Simpson is very “isolated,” Pardo explained.
“He’s very depressed right now. He doesn’t want to talk to people. He’s become real isolated, institutionalizing himself,” Pardo said. “Every time he talks to somebody it brings back the outside and then he has to institutionalize himself. So he really likes be left alone. When we have friends that go visit him, he’ll visit them for a minute or two and then he’s gotta go. He’ll say: ‘I’ve gotta go back in there, we’re working on fantasy football stuff,’ or something like that, and he actually leaves them there. It’s really weird, because they drive three days to get there. And he’s the one who’s ready to leave.”
During an interview with PEOPLE in January, Pardo called Simpson a “broken man.”
“He’s really becoming a recluse and doesn’t want to talk to anybody, including his own family,” Pardo told PEOPLE.
On GMA, Pardo said that Simpson is not looking forward to the new FX series documenting his 1994 murder trial, “especially with his parole hearing coming up.”
“The only real problem I think he has with any of this – him personally, he doesn’t really care other than his parole, I’m sure this is going to be a big effect on that next year – but his kids,” Pardo said. “I think that they’re having to relive something that they don’t want to do and it’s going to last for a couple of months. That’s the sad thing. …They shouldn’t have to go through this all over again. Their mother was butchered and their father was considered a murderer by a lot and they have to relive that for the next two months, over and over and over. They can’t even go to the restaurant without it airing, so it’s a hard thing for them. And all the other victims.”
And it’s likely that Simpson will be watching from prison, according to Pardo.
“I’m sure he will. He’ll say he won’t, but he always does. He always says he doesn’t read the rags but he does,” Pardo said. “I mean, curiosity, it’s about him, even though it’s fictional or whatnot, still, it’s about him, so he’ll watch. Somehow they’ll figure out a way to do it.”
American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson airs Tuesdays (10 p.m. ET) on FX.