Mike Tyson, forgive and forget?

// 24 March 2011

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tysonreputation.jpgIn 1992, US boxer Mike Tyson was convicted of rape and sentenced to 10 years in prison. He served three.

It has been nearly two decades. But is that long enough to justify lionising the boxer in a media profile which labels him “The Legend”, but doesn’t even mention his conviction?

Bidisha spotted such a profile in Sky Sports Magazine.

If anything, media rehabilitation of male celebrities with a history of physical or sexual violence has sped up to the point where it’s impossible to be surprised. Just look at Charlie Sheen, or what is currently happening with Chris Brown although at least he is still being asked questions about this when he goes on TV to promote his new album.

From Bidisha’s post:

The piece begins, ‘One of the last times you saw Mike Tyson was probably in hit comedy The Hangover …Yet Iron Mike’s enduring appeal means that he crops up in less starry surroundings too’, like his successful speaking tour, The Baddest Man on the Planet. I would contest this title: rape and brutalisation by men is mainstream and, to give Tyson some comfort, I do not think he is the worst perpetrator. He should be reassured that there are many men worldwide who have raped and beaten more women, children and other men than he has.

On tour, writes Bloomfield, Tyson ‘meets his people and answers questions about his extraordinary career.’ She also mentions his recent trip to Mecca, as though he is some kind of peace pilgrim or Deepak Chopra/the Dalai Lama, noting with plangent sentimentality, ‘Such is the life he now leads, a far cry from his destructive final years in boxing when his life spiralled out of control.’

Read the whole thing here. Also see Suzie at Echnidne’s two part post on the rehabilitation of Tyson’s image.

Photo of torn poster of Mike Tyson by Lucus Berrini, shared on Flickr under a Creative Commons license

Comments From You

sianushka // Posted 24 March 2011 at 1:00 pm

It makes me so angry! When i saw the hangover – to have a convicted rapist treated like some kind of cult hero, as if the violence he committed against women simply doesn’t matter.

Johann Hari wrote a good piece about this when Norman Mailer died, how violence against women simply doesn’t matter when the perpetrator is ‘the great American writer/athlete’ etc.

Polanski, Chris Brown, Charlie Sheen – it’s all the same.

Brian McFadden releases a single about how he likes to get girls drunk first…

The Chris Brown thing is so worrying because his fans are young girls, growing up to think that Rihanna ‘deserved’ it and that he’s cute and ‘misunderstood’.

Rage rage rage!

amy // Posted 24 March 2011 at 1:32 pm

Sadly most of my friends have forgiven Chris brown. Its absolutely horrible that they try to justify his behaviour by saying things like how difficult Rihanna must have been and that he is sooo good looking etc…

As much as i still enjoy his music i stopped liking him and stopped buying any of his records. What he did was unacceptable. i know he was young when he did that but that does not excuse what he did. Weirdly he turned very unattractive to me the second I saw Rihanna’s battered face.

amy // Posted 24 March 2011 at 4:01 pm

I just can not believe how some people will go to all lengeths to defend these guys.

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