Legendary American boxer, Mike Tyson has been accused of attempting to grab the breast of his long-time photographer in the early 1980s, a claim he denied, alleging that the two had a consensual sexual relationship starting when he was ‘around 17’ and she was in her mid-20s.
Award-winning photographer Lori Grinker, 65, made her accusation in the preface of her new pictorial book, ‘Mike Tyson,’ a candid collection of photographs from Tyson’s teenage years in through the early 1990s.
‘Mike could be very sweet and gentle when he was feeling it, and not very sweet or gentle when he wasn’t,’ she wrote about Tyson, who is now 56.
‘He once tried to grab my breast, and when I pushed him away, he got angry and threw my light meter in the snow. He had a somewhat spoiled side and, being the champ, grew accustomed to getting his way.’
In emails to DailyMail.com, Grinker said Tyson never tried anything like that again and the two continued with their professional relationship. She also stressed that Tyson was just an ‘immature teenager’ at the time.
Tyson’s representatives responded to DailyMail’s request for comment with a statement that read: ‘In this day and age it’s unfortunate that Ms. Grinker was not more careful with her words omitting the fact that she was in a sexual relationship with Mike Tyson when he was a minor with almost a decade age difference.’
Grinker has told DailyMail.com that Tyson’s claim is inaccurate.
In a separate email to DailyMail.com, Tyson’s spokesperson indicated that the alleged relationship began around 1983: ‘He was around 17 and had sexual relationship with her on & off until about 21. He had sex with her also when he was champion in Atlantic City.’
Although Tyson’s spokeswoman initially described him as a ‘minor’ at the time the alleged sexual relationship supposedly began, she later explained that ‘minor is generally legally defined as a person under the age of 18.’
If the alleged affair did occur when Tyson was 17, it would not have violated New York State consent laws enacted in 1965.
The two met when he was a 13-year-old, recently released from a reformatory, where he was discovered as a boxing prodigy. Tyson had been adopted by trainer Cus D’Amato, who once guided Floyd Patterson to the heavyweight title in the 1960s, and was living in the boxing legend’s Catskill, New York home with other aspiring fighters.
Grinker, a college student at the Parson School of Design in New York in 1980, was on a photography class assignment, which brought her to D’Amato’s Victorian home and gym in the Hudson Valley.
It was there that she first encountered Tyson, before spending much of the next decade shooting him for a variety of publications.
Grinker does not make much of the claim in her book, instead including the anecdote as a way to show the many sides of Tyson, whom she also referred to as polite and funny.
As for Tyson’s 1992 rape conviction, Grinker did not offer an opinion on his guilt.
‘I was pretty far removed from it,’ she told DailyMail while promoting her new book. ‘I was traveling around the world and working on war-related stories and other things.
‘I just didn’t know,’ she continued. ‘I didn’t know if it was true or not. Nobody does but the two of them.’
Tyson served three years in an Indiana prison after being convicted of raping 18-year-old Desiree Washington in an Indianapolis hotel room in 1991.