Tonight, the “SVU” episode that has been generating quite the buzz across all social media platforms airs on NBC at 9e/8c.
The controversy swirling around the episode is due to the casting of boxer Mike Tyson in this installment of the drama.
In 1991, Tyson was arrested 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 both of the articles I tried my best to present all sides of the issue with quotes from those both for and against the casting. I also added a statement of my own opinion of the situation, saying, "Viewers should trust that those in charge will use this opportunity to explore actions and consequences in a thoughtful, compelling manner."
I’ve received criticism for my statements, including this one from Cassandra DL Stack (@CDLStackSVU): "@annek2k #svu's executive producers r ignoring abuse victims who watch the show who are kicking against this! it's NOT RIGHT & U KNOW IT!"
To accurately continue reporting about this issue, it should be mentioned that as of today, there are over 15,000 signatures on this petition started by Marci Kaveney at change.org, calling for NBC and "SVU" to reconsider casting Tyson.
Obviously, NBC is going ahead with the episode with Tyson in the role.
While Kaveney is clearly against the presence of Tyson, others have continued to post statements to the contrary.
Those include this post by Corinne Pina (@Corinne0721) in which she addresses the actors as well as the Executive Producer of "SVU" saying, in part, "@Mariska, @TheKelliGiddish @TheDannyPino @Finallevel, I feel so sorry about all the drama about (the) episode with @MikeTyson. However, I am a survivor myself and I will always support you and "SVU" and @WarrenLeightTV and @nbcsvu . I am approaching this situation with an open mind and compassion and think that Mike Tyson has changed a lot in the past years. He deserves a second chance and a new life. Since I began my healing journey, I have learned that forgiving is the first step. Holding onto the past and, especially hating and spreading hate, doesn’t foster a positive experience at all. In fact it makes it more difficult to let go and be able to slowly reclaim your life.”
While Tyson's role is certainly a factor in the ongoing discussions about the episode, it hopefully won't diminish the real message that this show continues to work hard to relate with every storyline; that these types of 'heinous' crimes do actually occur and that the real work is the difficult task of delving into the pysche of the perperators to learn more about the motivation behind their actions in the hope of preventing future crimes by all offenders.
By exposing these often painful-to-watch scenarios, "SVU" has, after all of these years, stuck to its mission, to shed light on these issues and give a voice to victims.
It seems quite interesting that now many of these real life victims are using the very power afforded them by the seemingly successful achievement of that mission to speak out regarding the decisions made by the producers of the show.
But, this is the beautiful thing about power, freedom and voice; you can use these elements to make a statement about anything that you feel strongly about. This includes watching “SVU” tonight or choosing not to do so.
No matter what anyone says, the choice is yours and yours alone.
Use your power wisely.
"Law & Order: SVU" airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on NBC.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have in the past offered my support to Mariska Hargitay's Joyful Heart Foundation both monetarily and through my active participation in various events benefitting the organization. I will continue to do so in the future and want to be clear that my involvement with the foundation has in no way influenced my posts about "SVU" or any other show that I cover.
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