Actor Jeremy Piven’s show goes on. But we’re not talking about “Speed-the-Plow,” the Broadway play that formerly featured the “Entourage” star. Piven has a new show: “Spreading Fish Tales at the Expense of Americans’ Health.” And as Good Morning America viewers may have noticed this week, it’s proving to be a flop.
Let’s step back and review how we got here. After Piven’s doctor told him he had too much mercury in his blood, the actor pulled out of the show—around the same time as some reports indicated he was getting bored on Broadway. Piven’s doctor told him that he could go back to performing in February or March—the same time, coincidentally, he will begin filming the new season of his TV show.
But let’s assume Piven's claims are well-intended. According to his doctor, he ate sushi twice a day. But he would have to eat about 108 pieces of tuna sushi rolls every week for his entire lifetime in order to introduce any new health risks from mercury. In other words, Piven would have to be reading his lines on stage through a mouthful of tuna rolls every night. No wonder his co-stars and producers greeted his fish story with bitter skepticism.
Jeremy Piven isn’t taking the accusations that he fabricated this story lying down. This week he made an appearance on Good Morning America to defend himself. But he dropped at least one fact that makes his story stink more than before: He claims he hasn’t eaten fish in five months, which would mean he stopped his sushi habit before the Broadway play opened.
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Maybe he was bored with acting and wanted to make history by becoming the first documented case of mercury poisoning from a sushi-eater. Or maybe he’s been hanging out with Faroe Islands natives, eating whale meat captured in the Norwegian Sea. But the odds seem pretty slim. (For a complete factual takedown of Piven’s claims, check out this YouTube response from the fish industry.)
Piven’s charade would be entertaining if the public-health stakes weren't so big. As our latest report on mercury and seafood (“Tuna Meltdown”) shows, activists who spread seafood scare stories are hurting the health of America's poorest children by pushing seafood off their mothers' plates.