There’s a harrowing moment in Mike Tyson’s one-man stage play, Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth, when he describes how he was accused of, tried for and eventually convicted of raping 18-year-old Desiree Washington in 1992. He talks—sensitively—about how he wasn’t the first person Washington had accused of rape and how his agent at the time, Don King, hired a tax attorney to defend him instead of an experienced criminal-defense attorney. At the end of his fast-paced soliloquy, Tyson’s high-pitched voice cuts to a halting stop, he plants himself in the center of the stage, looks solemnly into the audience and says, “I did not rape Desiree Washington, and that’s all I have to say about this.”
Tyson maintains his innocence to this very day. So the boxing icon didn’t take too kindly to Toronto’s CP24 anchorman Nathan Downer when he referred to him as a “convicted rapist” during a live telecast.
Downer wanted to know if Tyson should perhaps reconsider giving a public endorsement to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford—who is running for re-election—given Tyson’s checkered past. “Some of your critics would say, ‘This is a race for mayor, we know you’re a convicted rapist, this could hurt his campaign,’” Downer told Tyson.
Tyson’s energy immediately changed, and he initially refused to answer the question, saying that “it was negative” and Downer was being negative. A few seconds later, however, Tyson began to calmly curse at Downer.
“That was a piece of … f—k you. That was a piece of s—t,” Tyson said quietly but clearly.
“You know we’re on? We’re doing live TV,” Downer responded.
Downer then tried to switch gears and talk about how Tyson was in town to perform his one-man play, but Tyson was still visibly upset.
When Downer asked if Tyson gets nervous while onstage acting, the boxing icon responded, “I dunno, it’s more nerve-racking for me here talking to a rat piece of s—t like you.”
After the interview, Downer tweeted: