Later this month, NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit plans to shoot an episode that features convicted rapist, Mike Tyson, as a guest star. Tyson will play Reggie Rhodes, “a murderer on death who is also the victim of a difficult childhood.” You may recall that the boxer physically abused his wife, Robin Givens. Or that in 1991, he raped Miss Black America contestant, Desiree Washington, in a hotel room in Indianapolis.
If you love SVU like I do, you probably know that every episode begins with a voiceover that reads these words on the screen: “In the criminal justice system, sexually based offenses are considered especially heinous.” Which makes it kind of HARD to understand why a show that reminds us from the get-go in every single episode that rape is an extremely horrendous crime would give a rapist a platform for performance.
Rape survivor Marcie Kaveney is struggling with this new information as well, and she plans to do something about it. She’s created a petition that you can sign to keep Tyson off of SVU. Many others have spoken out about the ordeal, especially on the page for the petition. One supporter writes, “By casting Mike Tyson, a wife-beater, convicted rapist and known misogynist, they are not only spitting in the faces of the thousands of victims who entrust SVU to shed light on their stories, but also discrediting the voluminous support given them by such survivors and advocates over the last 14 years.”
If all of that wasn’t enough to convince you to sign, try reading this quote from the man himself: “You know something, I like to hurt women when I make love to them. . . . I like to hear them scream with pain, to see them bleed. . . . It gives me pleasure.”
Oh and this one: “[Robin Givens] really offended me and I went BAM. She flew backwards, hitting every wall in the [expletive] apartment. That was the best punch I’ve ever thrown in my entire life.”
The episode has not yet been filmed so please join Marcie Kaveney and thousands more by signing this petition!