As you know, Jeremy Piven dropped out of the Broadway production of Speed-the-Plow just before Christmas citing mercury poisoning for not being able to fulfill his contractual obligation. Now the producers of the production have filed a grievance against him – no wonder he was on Good Morning America last week on a PR blitz. Someone is trying to save his reputation.

Piven insists he’s legit, saying there is no truth to the allegations he was bored with Broadway and more interested in partying than being tied to a grueling work schedule. During the interview with Diane Sawyer, he indeed sounds very sincere, respectfully refraining from countering against playwright David Mamet who openly criticised his departure and questioned the veracity of his medical excuse.

But the fact that his peers and his producers don’t believe him is a telling sign. And his shady doctor with the shady reputation who vouched for his illness, well that isn’t helping either.

Piven’s star power moved tickets. In this economy, in this environment, many people depend on that box office tally to survive. When he bailed on Speed-the-Plow, he was bailing on a crew, an entire team, one of the few shows on Broadway that was actually doing well, and it’s been regarded as a huge sign of disrespect to the hard working folks who depend on it to make a living.

So now Jeremy Piven’s on the campaign trail. Do you believe him?

He did look busted at the Golden Globes...but even Mark Wahlberg seemed to be teasing. Heh.

Jeremy Piven defends mercury poisoning on Good Morning America

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