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NBC drew the disgust of rape survivors after announcing that Mike Tyson, a convicted rapist, would appear in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a show that deals with rape nearly on a weekly basis. The network will still air the episode as of now, but has moved it up a week to keep it from airing the day before a rape protesting event.
According to The Washington Post, just after NBC announced the casting, rape survivor Marcie Kaveney asked NBC to recast Tyson. She created a Change.org petition, which now has over 11,600 signatures.
“As soon as I saw it [in a news report], I just saw red,” she told the Post’s TV Column last week.
Tyson was convicted in 1992 of raping an 18-year-old Miss Black America contestant. He served three years in prison, but has maintained his innocence. He spoke with TV Guide about the SVU role and the petition.
“I'm sorry that she has a difference of opinion, but she's entitled to it,” the retired boxer said. “I'm sorry that she's not happy.”
He continued, “I didn't rape nobody or do anything like that, and this lady wasn't there to know if I did or not. I don't trip on that stuff. I'm not trying to get rich and famous; I'm just trying to feed my family. Why should they care? Since 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.”
SVU airs on Wednesdays at 9 p.m.