Mike Tyson Refuses $450,000 Settlement Demand Amid Allegations of In-Flight Assault
Mike Tyson, the former heavyweight champion, is facing legal turmoil as he rejects a pre-litigation settlement demand of $450,000 from Melvin Townsend III. Townsend alleges he was subjected to repeated punches by Tyson during an incident on a JetBlue Airways flight at San Francisco International Airport last year.
Attorney Jake Jondle, representing Townsend, sent a letter to Tyson’s attorney, Alex Spiro, seeking the settlement as an attempt to resolve the matter without prolonged litigation. The letter, obtained by The Times, proposed that in exchange for the settlement, Townsend would provide Tyson with a release barring future lawsuits, along with terms agreeable to Tyson.
Spiro, in response, issued a statement dismissing the demand as a “shakedown payment.” He stated, “There will be no shakedown payment,” firmly denying any intention to comply with Townsend’s financial request.
The altercation between Tyson and Townsend occurred on April 20, 2022, during a JetBlue flight to Florida. Townsend, reportedly intoxicated, allegedly made disruptive remarks to fellow passengers. Video footage posted by TMZ showed Tyson standing and delivering repeated punches to Townsend’s face, with at least one passenger urging him to stop.
Townsend’s attorney, Jondle, presented his client’s version of events in the letter, claiming that Townsend had initiated a conversation about the marijuana industry and psychedelic mushrooms with Tyson, leading to Tyson’s annoyance and subsequent violence.
The letter also detailed Townsend’s immediate physical distress, including severe headaches and neck pain, as well as the lasting impact on his life, including the loss of multiple jobs due to the incident’s notoriety. Jondle emphasized that Townsend, lacking health insurance and residing in an isolated area, was unable to seek consistent medical treatment.
While neither Townsend nor Tyson initially sought criminal charges, Jondle’s letter, dated Nov. 28, indicated Townsend’s intention to pursue a civil suit if the settlement demand was not met. The letter referenced Tyson’s appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” in 2022, where Tyson expressed regret for the incident, acknowledging that he was “wrong” and attributing his actions to being “irritated, tired, high, and pissed off.”