Why People Believe SVU Casting Mike Tyson is a Stunt

(This is a short article explaining why NBC’s Law and Order SVU’s invitation to have Mike Tyson be a “guest star” is thought by many to be a “stunt” designed to create controversy, draw new viewers, and increase ratings (at least temporarily) so that SVU will be renewed for another year.  (FYI, that decision is usually finalized by NBC in May of each year.)   THERE IS ANOTHER ARTICLE FOUND IMMEDIATELY BELOW THIS ONE THAT EXPLAINS WHY HIS CASTING IS INSENSITIVE AND WRONG AND WHY SVU SHOULD NOT AIR IT.  UPDATE: (01/26/2013)  The JHF (Mariska Hargitay’s foundation) and Peace Over Violence have tweeted their concerns regarding the casting of Mike Tyson for SVU.  The JHF’s blog is found at:  http://joyfulheartfoundation.org/wordpress/response-to-concerns-over-casting-of-mike-tyson-on-law-order-special-victims-unit/ . You can find @Peaceovrviolnce Jan. 22nd tweets to SVU show runner Warren Leight on Twitter.  Interestingly, Warren Leight deleted the tweets/comments he made that Peace Over Violence disagreed with…)

First, it is important to note that many survivors of sexual assault, abuse and/or domestic/dating violence are opposed to the insensitive “message” that they feel is being sent to them by NBC casting Mike Tyson  in a coveted “guest star” role on Law and Order SVU.   There is also a 1petition against Mike Tyson guest starring on SVU.  I wrote that such casting is wrong and insensitive in a separate 2article that can be found immediately below this one (on this page).  Please read it so that this article has more meaning. 

Next, quite a few  people also believe that the hiring of Mike Tyson to be on SVU as a “guest star” is not only insensitive and wrong, but also designed to create controversy (which it clearly has) and, therefore, attract new viewers in order to temporarily raise ratings to help guarantee its renewal for another season.  Just about every adult knows creating controversy is an old trick used to draw people, as they are curious and want to watch it unfold and see what happens as the event occurs.  And, of course, most adults are also familiar with the old show business saying, “There is no such thing as bad publicity….even bad press is good”.

So why do many believe the hiring of Mike Tyson to be a “guest star” on SVU is a stunt? 

First, Mike Tyson is not a trained actor by profession who has a solid acting background, which has been the case for other “guest stars”,  such as Patricia Arquette, who guest starred a few episodes back.   It is the exact opposite.  3He has acted as himself and acted to tell his life story on Broadway.   He has not acted as another character.

Next, most everyone knows that Law and Order is/was groundbreaking for telling stories about the ‘heinous’ crimes of sexual assault, child abuse, and domestic violence and having the ‘good guy’ detectives fight such.  It has been aligned not only with such 4social causes, but also with the Joyful Heart Foundation founded by actress Mariska Hargitay, which has a mission, in part, of helping to heal survivors and “shedding light” into the darkness that surrounds such issues.  These are some of the main reasons why Law and Order SVU has resonated with survivors – it speaks to them and for them.  Therefore, to now have a non-actor (Mike Tyson) with the background of having a rape conviction and having acknowledged abuse of women get a coveted “guest star” role on SVU creates controversy.

Finally, some have heard the banter about Mike Tyson being “rehabilitated”.  While that does not justify him being a “guest star” on Law and Order SVU (instead of another show that does not center around the fight against sexual assault and domestic violence) for all the reasons so noted in my other blog (found immediately below), before anyone reaches any final conclusions that he is “rehabilitated”, please research the internet and by all means also view this (offensive) September 2011 interview which is filled with racist comments, sexism, offensive sexual comments, and stereotypes: http://dailycaller.com/2011/09/16/mike-tyson-sarah-palin-met-the-wombshifter/    And, yes, after you do, it will create even further “controversy”– the type Dick Wolf and Warren Leight apparently just love.  But, let’s be clear:  I will not let  Dick Wolf and Warren Leight   “play” me, nor should you fall into the trap of having them “play” you, by watching this Law and Order SVU episode.  Help show them we are smarter than that.

Bridgette Rodriguez @BridgetteRodrig

P.S. Actually, if NBC airs this episode, I will no longer watch L&O SVU, period.

2   https://bridgettestwittercomments.wordpress.com .  (Blog explaining why the casting of Mike Tyson for a  coveted “guest star” role on NBC’s Law and Order SVU is insensitive and wrong. See second article within the Blog.)

3  One article regarding Mike Tyson being cast on SVU and his prior “acting” experience: http://www.usatoday.com/story/gameon/2013/01/11/mike-tyson-guest-starring-in-an-episode-of-law–order-svu/1827341/   (…Once you navigate past the easy jokes, you have a man who is slowly building a solid acting resume. Granted, he’s play himself in 105 titles according to IMDB….)

4  Article/comments regarding Law and Order SVU being aligned with certain social causes: http://www.hollywood.com/news/Dick_Wolf_Law_Order_SVU_300th_Episode/42935448

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Why Law and Order SVU Should Not Air the Show with Mike Tyson Guest Starring

(This is a shortened version explaining why I believe NBC Law and Order SVU used very poor judgment in casting Mike Tyson to be a “guest star” on an upcoming SVU episode and how this ends up being insensitive to many of its loyal viewers who have suffered trauma as victims and survivors of current and/or  past sexual abuse, child abuse and/or domestic/dating violence. I write not only for myself, but for those I know and know in my heart, who are unable to speak up.   Please note there is a PETITION CIRCULATING about this matter, should you want to sign it:  https://www.change.org/petitions/nbc-and-law-order-svu-we-request-that-you-re-consider-casting-convicted-rapist-mike-tyson-on-law-order-svu?utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=url_share&utm_campaign=url_share_before_sign    (Besides everyday people, some people connected with non-profit organizations are speaking out against SVU airing this episode and  some who are in other professions are also speaking in support of the above-noted petition:  e.g., https://twitter.com/PauleyP/status/292565491275419649 .)  FYI, I am also typing another blog to explain why some feel the casting of Mike Tyson is a stunt designed to increase ratings (which controversy always does) so SVU  will get renewed for another season in May.)

More than any other show in the history of network television, Law and Order SVU has a loyal viewership of people who have personally experienced sexual abuse, child abuse and/or domestic/dating violence and/or know someone who has.  Because the show sheds light on these subjects and shows the law enforcement angle of trying to address and stop sexual abuse, child abuse and domestic/dating violence, it resonates with these viewers in meaningful and sometimes profound ways.  (It is/was often viewed as a “friend” to victims/survivors–one who spoke to them and, many times, for them, most especially when that victim/survivor can’t let their victimization be known. )  Dick Wolf and L&O SVU know this, and, therefore, have a responsibility to these viewers and to the relating social causes they/SVU claim to espouse.

To these ends, NBC Law and Order SVU “must” always be sensitive in all that it does, in all that it says, and in all its employees say on Twitter and in social media, and it must weigh the good against the possible bad or harm that could affect these viewers before proceeding.

The casting of Mike Tyson in a coveted “guest star” role on SVU flies in the face of such sensitivity, because it sends a “message” which offends and upsets certain victims/survivors.  While Mike Tyson is a convicted rapist and wife beater who has served his time and is purportedly rehabilitated, he is not someone who is an actor by profession (he has only played himself in other roles and on Broadway), nor someone worthy of being a guest star before other actors on SVU, nor, most importantly, someone who should be a guest star at the EXPENSE of some, if not a majority, of loyal SVU viewers who are survivors.  No matter the SVU storyline–including that of the cycle of abuse and redemption/rehabilitation, it is better acted and better told/conveyed by someone else who is a proven actor by profession and is without a history of being a perpetrator of sexual abuse/violence (does not offend survivor viewers).

Just because Mike Tyson happens to be rehabilitated doesn’t mean he has a right to be seen in every forum or arena —  especially those involving trauma victims (viewers) and when those victims/viewers have expressed their concern with his appearance.  If NBC or Dick Wolf feel strongly about casting him, why not cast him in Chicago Fire or another NBC show, where his casting will not have a direct adverse impact on victims/survivors?

One can only wonder what in the world SVU casting or its show runner was thinking when they cast a non-actor by profession (Mike Tyson) with all the actors out there (by profession) who would be worthy of being a guest star for the same money, and they cast Mike Tyson at the expense of offending and upsetting some of its loyal viewers (trauma victims) whom they should be sensitive to.  This only leaves me with the conclusion that SVU has now “lost” its way and is no longer sensitive to the *many victims/survivors and social causes it claims to care about.

If this ends up being the case, I will no longer owe the current L&O SVU my loyalty and viewership.

Bridgette Rodriguez, @BridgetteRodrig

* It is important for people to realize that because of the shame associated with being a sexual assault victim and/or domestic violence victim, many victims/survivors do not discuss their victimization in the open, with family or friends, and certainly wouldn’t, therefore, comment to NBC and/or in social media and/or use any method for comment where they believe they could be traced.  Therefore, in my opinion, for every person who does express concern in some social media forum, there are probably dozens upon dozens who feel the same way but won’t comment to NBC or others because they don’t wish to be outed.

Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments