Joe Oliver Is No Longer Zimmerman’s TV ‘Friend’
Heavily scrutinized defender of Trayvon Martin’s shooter has ended his role as media adviser
After making a splash with reporters and pundits covering the Trayvon Martin tragedy, Joe Oliver has stepped down as George Zimmerman’s ever-present defender.
TheGrio first reported Oliver’s departure, which was later confirmed by NBC News. Oliver says he’s stepping down because the legal team now defending the shooter has someone else in that role.
"My whole intention from the beginning was to help George with the media," Oliver told theGrio.
Oliver, who worked with Zimmerman at a Florida mortgage security firm, became the first of a few prominent faces defending the 28-year-old.
As the volunteer neighborhood watch captain in a Sanford, Fla. gated community where he pursued and shot the 17-year-old Martin, Zimmerman has maintained the incident was “life and death” self-defense.
Neighborhood watch co-captain Frank Taafe and Zimmerman’s father and brother later joined Oliver in defending George on TV. But Oliver received around the clock scrutiny from journalists and pundits who questioned exactly how close he was to the family.
At the height of his media blitz, Loop 21 columnist Keli Goff bluntly asked Oliver how it felt to be Zimmerman’s “black friend."
"I didn't' make any money off this. I didn't expect or intend to get paid. This was all intended to help someone who had no media experience, especially in the media they had to deal with," Oliver said in an interview with theGrio.
Oliver said he will return to his job, which he “was never fired from and never quit.”