Jeremy Piven isn't going down without a fight.
The actor is currently butting heads with the Actors' Equity Union and producers of Speed the Plow after he pulled out of the show last December claiming mercury poisoning. Playwright David Mamet slammed Piven for "leaving show business to pursue a career as a thermometer," but, in his new statement below, the Entourage star points out mercury poisoning was "recently described by the Obama administration...as the world's gravest chemical problem."
Piven is slated to go before an arbitrator on June 8 and 9. His statement, released to BroadwayWorld.com Wednesday, reads: "After Mr. Piven was diagnosed with a potentially toxic Mercury level, he reluctantly left SPEED-THE-PLOW at the insistence of his doctors, who warned him that enforced rest was required to avoid severe medical problems, including a heart attack. Mr. Piven is looking forward to testifying in Arbitration along with his doctors so that the truth comes out about the very health serious risks caused by Mercury exposure, which the Obama administration has recently described as the world's gravest chemical problem.
Starting back in December, Mr. Piven repeatedly offered to turn over his medical records to the Producers subject to an appropriate confidentiality agreement. The Producers repeatedly rejected that proposal. It is obvious that the Producers did not really want the medical records Mr. Piven volunteered to provide, since those records would confirm the medical necessity of his withdrawal from the show. The Producers' recent statement claiming that they had offered to keep the medical records private is nothing more than PR "spin." We have confirmed with Actors Equity today that the Union is not aware of any such confidentiality proposal by the Producers. In addition to repeatedly offering his medical records subject to a confidentiality agreement to prevent the Producers from disseminating them to the media, Mr. Piven had also repeatedly offered to be examined by a doctor designated by the Producers both before, during and after his hospitalization for toxic Mercury levels. The Producers never took him up on that offer. The fact that the Producers issued a statement announcing the Arbitration dates suggests that this is part of a punitive strategy to intimidate actors so that they ignore serious health symptoms and the advice of medical professionals due to fear that they will be sued."