The newest episode of NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" has recently been surrounded in controversy due to a special guest star. In the episode that airs tonight, retired boxer Mike Tyson, who served three years in prison for raping a woman in 1992, plays a convict who molested as a child.
His casting has prompted an online petition asking NBC to replace Tyson or pull the episode. The petition was started by Marcie Kaveney, a rape crisis counselor and is also a rape survivor. This morning Kaveney joins “Starting Point” to explain.
When Kaveney learned that Tyson was cast for the role, she says, “Nobody was touching on what it might mean to the survivors to see a convicted rapist on a show...about victims and survivors of rape.”
“Ultimately rape is rape and it’s no less heinous because it happens 20 years ago than it is today,” she says. "The show bases itself around victims stories and survivors stories and that is the problem right there – is that you have survivors having to turn on that show and see Mike Tyson on a that they consider to be theirs that tells their stories that they identify with.”
Kaveney says, “Ultimately...it all comes down to survivors and that you have thousands and millions survivors watching your show and that you have a responsibility to them.” She adds, “The fact that he’s on the show at all is a problem. The fact that he’s playing a victim is an even bigger problem because at what point do you say ‘Ok, are we going to let all the rapists and the murderers out of jail because they had a terrible childhood?’ You have to take responsibility for you actions.”
I do feel that the producers of this show are allowing ratings and money take over the human emotions of real live victims.
Maybe Mike Tyson intention is to feed his family, and as he said he served his time, but he still represents the crimes he was accused for.
How is Mike Tyson going to have a positive affect on the millions of victims of abuse and especially rape?
I'd like to pose that question to the network people who decided to use Mike Tyson, and even ask Mike Tyson the same question.
There are other positive ways that Mike Tyson can support his family. I don't think that should be the issue. The issue is the VICTIMS of violent crimes. Everything about Mike Tyson past life and boxing career was all about violence and biting off ears as a sign of being desperate, and if he needed to use violence he had no problem doing so.
I like to also pose this question. Who if anyone see or feel that Mike Tyson is the perfect poster boy for victims of violent crimes?