Hulu's New Mike Tyson Biopic Courts Controversy

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Robin Givens
Robin Givens

Last week, Hulu dropped a trailer for their new series, “Mike,” which focuses on the life of the former heavyweight champion, Mike Tyson.

Although the trailer hints that the series will explore the abuse allegations levied against Tyson by his ex-wife and Riverdale star, Robin Givens, it also appears to imply that Tyson is simply misunderstood. (Tyson did not authorize the series.)

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The series, starring Trevante Rhodes, is hardly the first time Tyson, or other men accused of violence against Black women, have had their images lionized or rehabbed by Hollywood.

Just months after FKA Twigs publicly accused Shia LaBeouf of sexual and physical abuse, he was cast to star in director Abel Ferrara’s film Padre Pio.

And prominent artists continue to work with Chris Brown, whose ex-Karrueche Tran was granted an order of protection in 2017, after she alleged he hit her in the stomach, pushed her down the stairs, and told people he would kill her.

Brown also admitted to punching his ex-girlfriend, Rhianna, during a “fight,” after shocking photos of the Barbadian star covered in extensive bruises surfaced in 2009.

In an exclusive interview with People Magazine in 2020, Givens, opened up about learning about a learning about a different biopic featuring Tyson (which at the time had cast Jamie Foxx as the lead):

“I felt this drop in the pit of my stomach and was like, ‘Oh no, here we go again,’” the actress, 55, tells PEOPLE of learning about the biopic, which is currently in development. “I felt like the world was crumbling again.”

Givens and Tyson married in February of 1988 — eight months later, they filed for divorce against the backdrop of allegations that Tyson was abusive.

Shortly after the dissolution of their marriage, Tyson served three years in prison for raping then-eighteen-year old beauty pageant contestant, Desiree Washington. Tyson denied the allegations, and said that the sex was consensual.

In a 2009 interview with Oprah Winfrey, Tyson admitted to hitting Givens. “I have socked her before, and she socked me before, as well. It was just that kind of relationship,” he said.

Givens told People Magazine that since their split decades ago, Tyson has continued to “re-victimize her,” by using the media to badmouth her.

After the split, “I remember my ex-husband calling up and saying, ‘I’ve decided I’m not going to kill you. I’m going to make your life so miserable you’re going to slit your own throat and die,’” she recalls.

Givens is now an advocate for domestic violence survivors. And says that she has worked hard to move on from what happened to her.

“I have a really, really nice life now. I have children that I love,” Givens told People.