Jeremy Piven faces Actors Equity over “Sushigate”

saga 13 260109
Jeremy Piven at the Screen Actors Guild Awards in January. Photo credit: WENN.

Entourage star and Emmy-award winner Jeremy Piven was called into a hearing with Actors Equity today to testify regarding the circumstances leading up to his leaving the production of “Speed the Plow” by David Mamet. If you recall, Piven was about halfway through his Broadway run with the show when he abruptly left, citing mercury poisoning as the cause. Apparently, the Piv has a thing for sushi – so much so that he claims to have toxic levels of mercury in his system. The producers of the show didn’t buy it- and they filed a grievance against Piven with Actors Equity.

Jeremy Piven showed up for his grievance hearing lodged by the Actors’ Equity Association for leaving his Broadway play — Speed-the-Plow — mid-run, because of excessive, mercury-laden sushi.

The Actors’ Equity Association could not reach a ruling today in the hearing, so now it looks like they might be headed to arbitration.

Jeremy Piven’s reps have just come out swinging, boasting that during the grievance hearing over his aborted Broadway play, the actor’s union sided with him. And Jeremy’s reps want you to know, a doctor with connections to two hoity-toity colleges backs him up.

Producers for “Speed-the-Plow” will have to now convince an arbitrator Jeremy’s doctor’s note claiming mercury poisoning was bogus. In the statement, Jeremy’s rep says Piven was so sick he could have had a heart attack if he didn’t drop out of the play. So Jeremy did, despite “glowing reviews.”

Piven’s rep says Jeremy was examined by a “Harvard-educated cardiologist affiliated with Yale.” End of story!

And there’s this. Piven says he is “pleased with the Obama administration” for seeking an international treaty to reduce Mercury pollution.

[Compiled from TMZ reports]

This story just gets weirder and weirder. What will happen if Actors Equity rules against Piven – will he be liable for any losses the producers experienced by him dropping out of the show? And if Piven is victorious, will he start flaking out like this on the set of Entourage, too? For now, it does look like Piven’s got his bases covered, with a well-respected doctor vouching for him. It’ll be interesting to see how this effects his career from here on out. Personally, I want to know just how much damn sushi this guy was eating!

Note by Celebitchy: According to the National Enquirer, Piven hasn’t given up the raw fish:

At the Beverly Hills Hotel post-awards bash, “Night of 100 Stars”… [Jeremy Piven scarfed down lots of raw fish when he wasn’t hitting on every gorgeous girl in sight.

[From The National Enquirer, print edition, March 9, 2009]

Here’s The Piv leaving a shopping trip at Barney’s New York earlier this week. Hope he’s not heading out for sushi. Photo credits: WENN.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

12 Responses to “Jeremy Piven faces Actors Equity over “Sushigate””

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Lem says:

    camera’s in the courtroom!I read the producers made him summit to a drug test, to get around his doctor. I’m interested in how this plays out.
    UGH his tuck in that top photo is off.

  2. CandyKay says:


    Couldn’t he have dropped dead of a heart attack at the nightclubs he went to the evening after dropping out of the play?

  3. geronimo says:

    Are these new docs he’s enlisted to testify for him? Wasn’t the original doctor involved pretty suspect? I don’t believe a word of this.

  4. Arvedia says:

    “Personally, I want to know just how much damn sushi this guy was eating!”
    LOL! If he still keeps up the sushi gluttony, he can´t be that much affected! I barfed once after eating a sausage that had gone off, and it took me years to attempt another one.

  5. Feebee says:

    This story doesn’t just gets weirder, it gets fishier too (sorry couldn’t help myself). Hope the Piv gets well and truly skewered if his story is proven to be what I think is a load of rubbish. I wonder if that can be a ‘precedent setting’ case in future ‘actors behaving badly’ cases?

  6. Zoe says:

    nice toup.

  7. RAN says:

    Cheese and rice! This dude must have eaten the entire catering table for the production staff! There isn’t THAT much sushi in each little roll, so he must have been scarfing it up.

    I’m with a few others though… I call bullsh!t on these antics.

  8. Lem says:

    any update from the hearing?

  9. orion70 says:

    man…..i’m glad I don’t have to go through this rigamarole every time I call in sick.

    on a side note RAN: “There isn’t THAT much sushi in each little roll”

    I think you’re referring to the sashimi (the raw fish), sushi technically means vinegared rice….not all sushi even has fish, raw or cooked in it.

  10. Heather says:

    I saw the production with his understudy, Leo Norbert Butz (who is no small potatoes in the world of theater) and I think it was better from the loss of him. The producers may have lost some ticket sales without his name recognition, but the show I attended was pretty much a full house. Limited runs of straight drama usually don’t attract the out of town business that the musicals do, and most people that would attend the play would regard Raul Esparza as a notable name and at least be somewhat familiar with Elizabeth Moss from either The West Wing or Mad Men. What I’m saying is that I hope this legal action is being pursued as a punitive measure against a self-centered ass who could not manage to live up to his commitments.

  11. texas sushi says:

    omg thats so crazy! i love sushi too but don’t blame you quitting your job on delish sushi!

  12. Carter says:

    I just wished he would get a better toupee or go commando!