Former boxer and convicted rapist Mike Tyson has caused an outrage by agreeing to appear in the TV show ‘Law and Order: Special Victims Unit’ – in an episode about rape.
After news broke out that he was to guest star in an episode of the crime drama serial, the former boxing champion tweeted, “Can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched SVU marathons. This is my dream job.”
Set in New York, the police procedural show focuses on victims of rape and sexual assault and while it has been accused of offering up rape as “entertainment,” it is widely considered to deal with sexual violence in a sensitive and serious way.
So why has it cast Tyson as Reggie Rhodes: “a murderer on death row who is also the victim of a difficult childhood?”
The casting, set to air next month, has left many people outraged.
Indeed, Marcie Kaveney, a rape crisis advocate, has set up a petition on the campaign site Change.org calling for the directors to change their mind which has already garnered more than 6,000 signatories.
“I am extremely disappointed, as I love this show and have watched it for years. I have even suggested rape crisis advocates watch the show for tips. As an advocate and a survivor, my heart aches at the thought that this man gets a free pass because he is famous! I can’t even begin to imagine what this news would mean to his victim,” she said.
Among the signatories are women who have suffered sexual assault.