O.J. Simpson says his motives for acting as host of an anti-violence fund-raiser are honest.
"I'm not trying to blow my own horn," Simpson said in a weekend telephone interview. "I don't like having to justify why I'm doing this."Simpson has been denounced for holding the fund-raiser, scheduled for Thursday at his estate, to benefit the Stop the Violence-Increase the Peace Foundation.
The group fights various forms of violence, including spousal abuse. Simpson, acquitted last year of murdering ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman, pleaded no contest in 1989 to abusing his then-wife.
"I'm for stopping abuse of any kind," he said. "You cannot be selective when you talk about violence."
One of Simpson's most vocal critics - Tammy Bruce, who heads Women's Progress Alliance with Denise Brown - derided his efforts.
"I know his motives," Bruce said of the benefit. "It's simply a cynical attempt at image building."
Simpson faces a September trial of a wrongful-death lawsuit seeking to hold him responsible for the deaths of his former wife and Goldman. He said he would be totally vindicated by that trial.
Leaders of the Inglewood-based foundation said they welcomed Simpson's offer of assistance.
"We have dealt with ex-gang members who have murdered three and four people in their lives," organization President Khalid Shah said Friday. "I don't think there is anyone who is beyond reproach, who doesn't have any skeletons in their closet."
Simpson said in the Saturday night interview with The Associated Press that the event was an outgrowth of a recent meeting he had with the organization in which he talked with young gang members.