NBC 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.