In 1991, Mike Tyson was convicted of raping Miss Black Rhode Island Desiree Washington and sentenced to six years in prison. Tyson maintained his innocence, alleging that the sex was consensual, and was released after serving three years at the Indiana Youth Center. Tyson lost every major fight (two to Evander Holyfield and one to Lennox Lewis) after his time in prison and regularly found himself in both legal and financial trouble. He’s recently reinvented himself as an entertainer — Tyson made a well-received appearance in The Hangover and, in 2012, started a one-man Broadway show called Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth.
Last night on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Tyson played “Reggie,” a murderer on death row and rape victim, and he was compelling. Here’s a clip of the show, courtesy of SportsGrid.
Unsurprisingly, a lot of people are unhappy with NBC’s decision to cast Tyson on the show. More than 15,000 people signed an online petition to keep Tyson off SVU, calling his appearance “a slap in the face to survivors everywhere.”
In an emotional and thoroughly bizarre interview with the Huffington Post, Tyson said he understands that some people won’t like his SVU appearance, but he “needs the money.”