If you are a Jimmy Hoffa conspiracy theorist, American historian, teamster, or even a cinephile who went to Google to learn about the notoriously missing President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) from 1957 to 1971, you know the name Chuckie O’Brien.
Charles “Chuckie” O’Brien was the foster son of Hoffa and since the historic disappearance, O’Brien has been a maligned and alleged suspect in the still unsolved case. Recently, there has been some ballyhoo resurrecting those FBI papers thanks to Martin Scorsese’s made-for-Netflix movie, The Irishman.
The 209-minute trek through Jimmy Hoffa’s initial connections with the Teamsters–and the Mafia–resurrects the story adapted from Charles Brandt’s 2004 book “I Heard You Paint Houses,” which focused on Hoffa’s relationship with said Irishman and henchman, Frank Sheeran, and served as a basis for the film.
Why bring all this up?
Apparently, comic book movies aren’t the only thing Scorsese is unsure of these days, so says O’Brien’s stepson, Jack Goldsmith via a staggering opinion piece in The New York Times.
“Someone He Is Not”
Jack Goldsmith, who is also the author of a book entitled In Hoffa’s Shadow: A Stepfather, a Disappearance in Detroit, and My Search for the Truth, has been consistent about the overwhelming toll his stepfather has endured for the past four decades. According to Goldsmith, “[Scorsese’s movie] is the capstone to my stepfather’s 44-year humiliation.”
“I’d like to get hold of that Scorsese and choke him like a chicken. And then after I get through with him, I’d grab that other pipsqueak, the guy who played the Irishman.” Goldsmith adds, “Chuckie is too frail for this to be a threat, and indeed he clearly did not mean it as a threat. It is an end-of-life cri de coeur [meaning: a passionate appeal] by a man whose being has been enveloped, and destroyed, by demeaning public untruths that he lacked power to rectify.”
So, there’s that. Nothing mafioso sounding about this threat, right? O’Brien, 86, is now frail and living in Boca Raton, Florida. Evidently, he has “dreaded” the release of the film and the subsequent blowback to his reputation.
“This is all tragic because the conventional wisdom about Chuckie is false. For decades, the F.B.I. has not suspected him of involvement in the disappearance. The circumstantial case against Chuckie fell apart long ago, and his known whereabouts on the fateful day make it practically impossible that he picked up Mr. Hoffa.
Unfortunately, the government never made this information public. And so Chuckie’s innocence in one of the most notorious crimes of the 20th century remains mostly hidden, his guilt remains publicly presumed, his honor remains soiled.”
Probably, the worst indictment of Scorsese’s adaptation of Brandt’s book is essentially whatever O’Brien has been accused of in his life, Scorsese seems to have done the same thing to him.
Not for nothing, Sheeran directly noted that O’Brien had nothing to do with Hoffa’s disappearance by calling him “an innocent bystander” in the very book inspiring Scorsese’s screenplay. Although it has never been proven that Sheeran did in fact murder Hoffa, Scorsese got that in the movie…as well as O’Brien alleged — but denied — complicity.
Maybe he needed that to get over the three-hour threshold? We’ll never know.