I’m as indifferent to Spike’s new reality show Lip Sync Battle as I’m ambivalent about think pieces (which is to say very indifferent and very ambivalent), which is why I’m going to (disingenuously) phrase this as a question instead of a statement: Does Spike truly think it’s a good idea to have Mike Tyson, a convicted rapist, lip sync Salt N Pepa’s “Push It” on national television for the sake of a cutesy viral clip?
Mike Tyson was convicted of rape in 1992 after he violently sexually assaulted an 18-year-old woman in his Indiana hotel room. At the time, Tyson’s defense argued that the victim, understanding the boxer’s popular persona as a “crude womanizer,” knew that he expected to have sex with her when she entered his room. He was sentenced to six years in prison and served three. Now, 20 years after his release, he’s once again a popular cultural figure. So popular, in fact, that he appeared on Lip Sync Battle’s April 23 episode (alongside outspoken feminist Terry Crews, no less), performing Salt N Pepa’s awesome sex anthem, “Push It.”
Whether you believe in reformation or not, Tyson served his time. He’s allowed to work. He’s allowed to (questionably) appear in The Hangover movies or write a Broadway show or race his pigeons or whatever else he legally chooses to do, but it’s still ridiculous that Lip Sync Battle would let him perform a song about sexual aggression (a song, which—again—is great when a non-rapist is singing it) and then expect us to share it all over the internet. What’s even more ridiculous is that there are plenty of people out there who are dumb enough to do exactly that.
So when you come across the video on your Facebook feed and watch Tyson lip sync the following lyrics...
Yeah, you come here, gimme a kiss/Better make it fast or else I’m gonna get pissed
...Maybe consider what his victim told an Indianapolis courtroom back in ‘92:
“[Tyson] said, ‘Come here.’ He grabbed my arm and stuck his tongue in my mouth. He pulled me toward him. It was disgusting. I pulled back. He said, ‘Don’t frighten. Don’t frighten. Relax.’ I tried to punch him, but it was like hitting a wall. I said, ‘Get off! Get off me! Stop!’ The next thing I knew, he slammed me on the bed...He put his hand in my vagina, he jammed his fingers in me really hard. I said, ‘Ow, please stop! You’re hurting me.’ My eyes were filling up with tears. Then he started laughing like it was a game....I said anything I could to get him off me. I was begging him. ‘Please, I have a future ahead of me....Please, I don’t need a baby....Please, I’m going on to college.’ He said, ‘So we have a baby,’ and jammed himself inside me...I felt like someone was ripping me apart.”
Ooh, baby, baby.
Image via Spike.
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.