NBC has moved an episode of its drama series about sex-crime victims — in which Mike Tyson is a guest star — so as not to air on the eve of a global event supporting rape and abuse survivors.
The episode of “Law & Order: SVU” that was originally scheduled to air Feb. 13 has been moved to Feb. 6.
The air date was changed after rape survivor Marcie Kaveney created a petition on Change.org asking NBC to recast Tyson’s role. She told The TV Column last week that she did so after learning about the casting and the airdate — which was on the eve of the event One Billion Rising.
“As soon as I saw it [in a news report], I just saw red,” Kaveney, who now works as a rape-crisis advocate in Fort Myers, Fla., told The TV Column.
Tyson was arrested in 1991 and charged with raping then-18-year-old Miss Black America pageant competitor Desiree Washington; he was convicted and served three years of a six-year prison sentence.
In her petition — which has more than 7,000 signatures strong on Change.org — Kaveney requests that NBC “re-consider casting convicted rapist, Mike Tyson.”
Tyson has finally weighed in on the petition, insisting that it’s “difference of opinion.”
“I’m sorry that she’s not happy,” he said of Kaveney, in an interview with TV Guide Magazine, adding: “I didn’t rape nobody or do anything like that, and this lady wasn’t there to know if I did or not.”
“Since I’m clean and sober five years, I haven’t broken any laws or did any crimes,” he said.
Tyson also provided some details of his “SVU” character, which NBC declined to give earlier. Tyson plays a death-row inmate who was a victim of childhood abuse and who murdered one of his abusers.
Tyson said that he was coached by his team about what to say during the interview because “they feel I can’t handle this stuff.” He added: “I’m happy with myself. I’m not on drugs. I’m not drinking. I’m not making a big fool of myself again. I’m trying really hard, you know?”
NBC had not returned e-mails and a phone call seeking comment at presstime.
Among the 7,000 who have signed the petition is “NCIS” star and abuse survivor Pauley Perrette.