Law & Oder: SVU Moves Mike Tyson Episode Away from Rape Survivor Event

MikeTysonNBC has moved the airdate for a Law & Order: SVU episode guest-starring convicted rapist Mike Tyson up a week, to Feb. 6, lest it fall the day before One Billion Rising, a nationwide event protesting rape and other violence against women.

The casting of Tyson — who in 1992 was convicted of raping an 18-year-old Miss Black American pageant contestant, and served three years (of a six-year sentence) in prison for the crime — spurred controversy from the get-go, eliciting at least one petition to have his role recast. (Tyson, the Washington Post‘s TV Column reports, is playing a death row inmate who murdered a man who abused him as a child.)

Tyson addressed the Change.org petition (which was started by rape survivor Marcie Kaveney and at last count amassed 11,600 signatures) in a TV Guide Magazine interview, saying, “I’m sorry that [Kaveney] has a difference of opinion, but she’s entitled to it. I’m sorry that she’s not happy [but] I didn’t rape nobody or do anything like that, and this lady wasn’t there to know if I did or not.” (Tyson always maintained his 1991 encounter with the pageant contestant was consensual.)

“I’m not trying to get rich and famous; I’m just trying to feed my family,” he added. “I’m clean and sober five years, I haven’t broken any laws or did any crimes. I’m just trying to live my life.”

For information on how you can be involved with the One Billion Rising event on Feb. 14, visit OneBillionRising.org.

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22 Comments
  1. jamie says:

    they need to completely remove it from airing period

  2. hlots11 says:

    His denial doesn’t matter – he was convicted. This isn’t an alleged event, like the accusations of spousal abuse from Robin Givens – the man was convicted because his defense was crap. The fact remains that Law & Order hired a convicted rapist to guest star on a show about sex crimes, banking on people not remembering the event or not caring because of some stupid guest starring role in a bro-movie. Or worse, they were counting on the controversy to get ratings. Once again, your felony past only hurts your chances of employment if you’re not famous.

  3. God, people really have nothing better to do than go out of their way to find something to complain about. The guy was convicted, went to jail and did his time. Whether he did it or not, he paid the price for it. He has the right to live his life now and make a living. If you don’t like it, don’t watch. Get over yourselves.

    • Jules058 says:

      Yes, he did his time. But his victimization of women hasn’t stopped there. He has a LONG history of misogynistic comments. Did you know he went on Broadway just last year to crack jokes about his history of domestic abuse, and to mock his rape victim? He even pointedly stated that he’d never apologize for what he did. Does that change your opinion of how he “makes a living”? It should.

    • mia says:

      Many of us don’t think 3 years in jail is really ‘serving his debt to society’. Some ownership and responsibility for what he’s done would be a HUGE step forward and be more justice than a prison sentence.
      .
      And if he actually worked with other men to talk to them about sexual assault and consent. If Tyson himself saw the incident as consensual and the woman did not – clearly there’s a discrepancy in what consent means. Having men talking to other men about that would be wonderful.
      .
      And if Tyson did that – then he’d have made some huge strides forward in making up for his crime

    • Ruby says:

      Clearly a post by someone who will never have to worry about rape in his entire life.

  4. Jade says:

    Very poor taste casting a convicted rapist on a series like L&O SVU. I’ll skip this episode altogether purely based on principle.

  5. Jules058 says:

    This is a man with a detailed history of misogynistic comments who openly mocks his victim and cracks jokes about his history of domestic abuse (even as recent as last year, on Broadway!) He has no shame. He does not belong on a show that has done so much for survivors of sexual assault/abuse, and has worked so hard to inform the masses about current issues. Although I’m a longtime fan of the show, I will *not* be tuning in to this episode. Shame on the producers for bankrolling Mike Tyson for stunt-casting purposes.

  6. Kimberley says:

    For the first time ever I will not be watching an episode of SVU – hiring a convicted rapist on a show that has done so much for survivors is beyond wrong.

  7. Bri Brit says:

    Shame on SVU for casting a convicted rapist. Will not Watch.

  8. davedcue says:

    Everyones so busy being mad at each other about this episode, you haven’t noticed they headline error! Law and Oder sounds like a great tv show

  9. Reblogged this on Bag Lady Boutique and commented:
    Either this was done due to the sensitivity of the what One Billion Rising stands for or they didn’t want this episode’s ratings to be affected on that day. Whichever good choice.

  10. It’s been a few years since I’ve watched SVU, so I won’t be watching simply for being out of the habit. As for Mike Tyson, I too wondered in recent years why he’s able to appear in The Hangover, do appearances on Conan and Ellen and be able to openly speak with total acceptance, so I just did a little research that’s completely swayed me in the other direction. First and foremost, there was no evidence. Secondly, Desiree Washington accused another man of the same thing prior to the alleged Tyson event and it was settled out of court and something called a shield law prevented that fact from being presented as character evidence in Tyson’s trial. Thirdly, Tyson’s legal defense was terrible and his penchant for acting like a neurotic jerk made the jury convict him solely on their dislike of his attitude. Finally, he has fiercely denied the allegation ever since and his story has never changed. “There’s a lot of things I could have gone to jail for and I deserved to go to jail for but this wasn’t one of them. I didn’t do it and I will never admit doing it.” As for Robin Givens, the burden of proof is on anyone who claims the domestic abuse allegations were true, as there aren’t any Rihanna-type photographs that would make most people hate him unequivocally like they do Chris Brown. I’m far from any sort of fan of his outside the old Nintendo game, but learning this information has given me this feeling of enlightenment and I now know better than to label people as rape apologists, amnesiacs or forgivers.

    • Rusty says:

      I’ve read your post, and I am not sure what is so “enlightening” about the info you provided. It’s pretty unconvincing of his innocence, or guilt. It’s all extraneous, irrelevant info. A large percent of rape survivors are victimized more than once. Victims of sexual abuse lose the gut instincts that alert one to danger. It happens as a result of having to deny what is happening to them to preserve their view of the perpetrator, self and word in general. They miss the red flags and end up in dangerous situations time and again, situations like agreeing to go out on a date with Mike Tyson come to mind. The fact that he had a crappy defense team also says nothing of his guilt or innocence (and I’m highly skeptical that with all his wealth, he was not able to hire very capable attorneys). Oh, you say he’s denied it? Oh, OK! Well then, I guess he didn’t do it after all! (sorry, trying and failing to reign in the internet snark.) And are we really at the point that if there is no photographic proof that a crime occurred then we throw our arms up in the air and say, Oh well, no evidence, I guess we’ll never know what happened! Are we no longer capable of using our brains to weigh evidence and come to a reasonable assessment? I understand your point that there isn’t any way to know with 100% certainty without a videotape or something irrefutable as evidence. But that does not mean that there was no evidence. There were witness statements. There was a documented history of violence. There were Tyson’s own words. The jury found the evidence convincing beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s OK if you want to be skeptical. But you seem to be leaning in favor of his innocence, which doesn’t make much sense in light of the fact that he was convicted, and how difficult a rape conviction is to obtain.

      • Sally says:

        Wow knew this was written by a man before I got to the bottom and saw the name. Where are you getting your ridiculous statements from about abused women losing the gut instinct to danger and red flags and get abused again???? Rape victims tend to be very cautious and don’t habitually get raped by different men. Sheeze

        • Tara says:

          You might want to check facts before speaking. Revictimisation is HIGHLY common with sexual abuse survivors and often it’s that freeze response that enables the revictimisation.

          Rape isn’t a preventative for further abuse.

  11. mia says:

    I don’t think SVU does anything positive for stopping sex crimes, so casting Tyson is really a mute point.
    .
    Its a show based on the premise of ‘what horrific sex crime can we commit on women and/or children this week’. It really does nothing to combat systemic misogyny.

  12. Anon says:

    At this point, I’m so amused by both sides’ overreacting that I’m just watching the world burn. The drama the fans are creating is better than anything the show could come up with.

  13. Jimmie P. says:

    Now, if everyone acts like this over Mike Tyson being on an SVU episode, just imagine the backlash that SVU would get if they cast Chris Brown in a guest starring role!!!

  14. Alan says:

    so svu, a show which does amazing things to bring the harrowing nature of sex crimes to the attention of the public, casts a man convicted of the very sex crimes they strive to show; yeah great work by the producers, lots of publicity and even more pissed off fans and general viewers. way to taint your legacy idiots.

  15. David says:

    You people are arguing over a TV show…entertainment…and you are making a fuss over who is starring in it??? Really….. Don’t we as a nation have more important things to discuss than Mike Tyson and a episode of SVU??

    • Alan says:

      ok lets say your sister or mother or daughter or wife was raped and the man convicted was then cast in a tv show which promotes victims rights in these situations, would you be happy about that? no you wouldnt. we arent happy about this because it sends out the message that rape is ok, they’ve already had to move it away from an event to commemorate rape survivors because they know it isnt right

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