Activists have set up a petition urging TV execs to drop convicted rapist Mike Tyson from an upcoming episode of crime drama "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit."
The former boxer has landed a cameo role in a new episode of the cop show, playing a murderer with a murky past, but the casting has infuriated campaigners against sexual violence. The series often features storylines about sex crimes, and activists claim producers should have avoided casting Tyson because of his 1992 rape conviction.
A petition urging show bosses to drop Tyson has been set up on the Change.org website and has attracted more than 6,300 signatures so far. The petition is addressed to TV heads at the show and at its network NBC and states, "We are requesting that you re-consider your decision to have Mike Tyson on "Law and Order: SVU." While we understand Mr. Tyson has served his time, it seems as though the only person who will benefit from his guest appearance will be him. There are many sexual assault survivors as well as others who consider your decision to be in poor judgement. Mr. Tyson has never publicly apologised to his victim nor has he admitted his crime ... Your show has been a great comfort for so many and is one of the few media outlets that discourages victim-blaming. We would like for the show to continue to have that same integrity."
Tyson was sentenced to six years in prison after he was convicted of raping beauty queen Desiree Washington, then 18, in an Indianapolis hotel room in 1991. He was released in 1995 after serving three years behind bars.