The Story Behind That Insane Photo of O.J. Simpson and Donald Trump

No, seriously: what the hell is going on in this archive picture of O.J. Simpson and Donald Trump?

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Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

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During the third episode of Ezra Edelman's epic ESPN 30 for 30 documentary O.J.: Made In America, there is a sequence towards the end that shows off the magnificent archival research that Edelman's team did. The sequence highlights a scene that was recreated in the fifth episode of The People v. O.J. Simpson, where Simpson's "Dream Team" had to stage O.J.'s house, removing all of the pictures with O.J.'s rich white friends from the home in favor of more African American-centric photos and pictures. One of those—maybe the most eye-opening pictures of the bunch—was the above shot of Simpson with the current Republican candidate for President of the United States of America, Donald Trump.

Twitter, as Twitter is wont to do, had some feelings about this image.

You guys! Donald Trump can't be racist, he was friends with OJ Simpson!
Y'all know if none of this would've happened OJ Simpson would be on the campaign trail for Donald Trump right now.
Oj Simpson hung out with Donald trump need I say more
*Waits for OJ Simpson to endorse Donald Trump now* #OJMadeInAmerica
Donald Trump is friends with OJ Simpson. I'm just saying- birds of a feather.

The question is: what the f*ck was even going on in that shot? 

We know Donald Trump hasn't met a camera he didn't like, and there's a world of archive photos of Trump chilling with the likes of Michael Jackson, Mike Tyson, Hulk Hogan, and even Bill and Hillary Clinton, the latter of which is his literal opponent for the most important job in the world. Trump's past as a flamboyant real estate mogul meant that he not only had cash to spread, but the personalities behind the velvet rope had to get a shot with him. The past between Trump and Simpson was a bit deeper than that, though.

It appears that this shot was taken during the grand opening of the Harley Davidson Cafe on October 19, 1993 in New York City (although some sites might incorrectly write it as the "Holly Davidson Cafe" because what is accuracy?). This would fall under the line of standard fare for both O.J. and Trump, two personalities who feed off of the flashing bulbs of paparazzi cameras and the glow from the celebrity limelight, but it doesn't prove that they are squad...although O.J. was in attendance to see Trump marry his second wife, Marla Maples, in December of 1993. Juice even had some remarks at that wedding that, with hindsight being 20/20, sound CRAZY: "I think everybody in the country believes that maybe their relationship could work if this relationship works." There are so many levels of WTF in there.

Ultimately, what does any of this mean? Were Donald Trump and O.J. Simpson real friends? It's hard to tell; what's a wedding invite to someone who today is believed to be worth $4.5 billion? In the early 1990s, having O.J. Simpson as a part of your wedding reception did just as much for Simpson as it did for Trump: Simpson was able to be seen in the company of some of the biggest movers and shakers in the land, and Trump was able to say, "Did you see O.J. Simpson at my wedding, the best wedding that's ever been done?" Trump's seemingly not mentioned much about O.J. Simpson since the Trial of the Century, but some political mudslinging with former Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz did have Trump throwing a bit of shade Simpson's way in a reference to the National Enquirer being "right about O.J. Simpson, John Edwards, and many others​."

Either way, the photo lives on in infamy, letting the world know that, at one time in the world, two of America's most hated were cool enough to rub elbows up in the club Cafe.

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