Law & Disorder: WTF
It sometimes seems as if he’s had more lives than a reincarnated lama. But no matter how many Mike Tysons there have been and will likely be in the years to come, some people will neither forgive nor forget his trespasses.
Although he did the crime (maybe) and did the time (definitely), the shadow of Tyson’s 1991 rape conviction hangs over him like a guillotine.
The latest blowback from that sorry affair concerns Mike having been cast as a murderer on death row in an episode of Law & Order: SVU.
Leading the charge, complete with a petition asking NBC to give the former heavyweight champion the boot, is Marcie Kaveney, a rape survivor who works as a rape crisis advocate in Fort Myers, Florida.
Timing is everything, in boxing and in showbiz, and the Tyson death row episode is scheduled to air the same night as the opening salvo of an initiative called One Billion Rising, a global movement whose purpose is to raise awareness about violence against women.
As soon as Kaveney heard the news about Tyson, “I just saw red,” she told the Washington Post’s The TV Column. “I am sorry, but I see this as just another way to clean up his image.”
There may be some truth to Kaveney’s allegation, but Tyson has been cleaning up his image for years, and with a degree of success that has surprised many.
“A lot of survivors consider ‘SVU’ to be their show,” continued Kaveney, “because it’s about victims, about helping victims and getting justice for victims. We’ve taken to the show and consider it ours.”
Someone needs to alert Kaveney to the fact that ‘SVU’ is not hers. It may advocate, or appear to advocate, for her cause, but identifying with what we see on TV comes at its own risk.
Naturally, there has been the usual back and forth on this issue. Naturally it has taken place on Twitter. But twenty years after the fact, I still don’t know what Desiree Washington thought would happen when she joined the notorious Mike Tyson in his hotel room in the wee hours of the morning. She may have been young and naïve, but how young and naïve can you get?