Listeners floor boxing legend Tyson interview in SAfrica
( AFP ) - A South African radio station had to scrap plans to interview former heavyweight boxing champion and convicted rapist Mike Tyson Wednesday after angry listeners bombarded its switchboard.
Talk Radio 702 station manager Pheladi Gwangwa said Tyson, in town to help promote a bout at the weekend in Johannesburg, had agreed to chat with breakfast show presenter John Robbie but pulled out at the eleventh hour.
"The request (for an interview) was received favourably but with the proviso that John should not ask any questions relating to his rape trial," Gwangwa told AFP.
But when Robbie told his listeners about the plans to talk with "Iron Mike", the station was inundated with callers who expressed outrage.
"There was a huge reaction from listeners, some of them SMS-ing, others calling and agreeing with the first woman (who said Tyson had shown no remorse over his 1992 rape conviction), while others disagreed and said Mike Tyson has paid his dues to society," said Gwangwa.
"Most of them however said that John should not conduct the interview if he would be prevented from asking questions about the rape trial."
As the station fielded the stream of callers, Tyson's promoter Rodney Berman called the show's producer and informed her that the interview was cancelled, Gwangwa added.
Tyson's visit has particularly angered women's groups who were prevented from staging a protest Wednesday outside the fight venue, which is next to Johannesburg's OR Tambo airport, on security grounds.
One-in-Nine, a group which campaigns for tougher laws against rape, issued a statement expressing "outrage" over the presence of Tyson in the country and the prospect of his sharing a table with Jacob Zuma, newly-elected leader of the governing ANC, at a pre-fight charity dinner.
Zuma went on trial for rape in 2006 before being ultimately acquitted.