(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.
1The petition against Mike Tyson guest starring on SVU: 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 Also, a rather famous person, Pauley Perrette from NCIS, came out in favor of this petition at: https://twitter.com/PauleyP/status/292565491275419649
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