Jeremy Piven‘s Speed-The-Plow/sushi defense debacle — a p.r. embarassment that will color Piven’s reputation for the rest of his life — has come to an official end. No more legal threats or fines or procedural hassles…done.
Variety‘s Gordon Cox reported this afternoon that independent arbitrator George Nicolau has found that the actor did not breach his employment contract with producers of Speed-the-Plow, the Broadway revival Piven that abruptly abandoned last December, blaming sushi poisoning.
Let me explain something. No one has ever believed and no one will ever believe Piven’s mercury-poisoning excuse for leaving that show. (It’s never been a secret about high mercury levels in raw fish, so what kind of moron consumes huge amounts of sushi and sashimi on a daily basis without understanding there will be a physical reaction?) Just as Robert Mitchum was never able to fully escape memories of the pot bust that landed him in jail in 1947, Piven will be regarded as Hollywood’s ruling sushi bullshit artist for the rest of his days.
Nicolau also exonerated Piven for having breached the collective bargaining contract between thesps’ union Actors’ Equity Association and the Broadway League, the trade association of legit producers and presenters. “While we respect the decision, we strongly disagree with it,” the Plow producers said in a statement.