Entourage star: #MeToo ruined my career
Jeremy Piven might be launching a new career as a comedian, but the sex abuse accusations he faced were no laughing matter.
The TV series Wisdom Of The Crowd was cancelled and The Entourage actor's reputation tarnished in the wake of allegations made by eight women - none of which have warranted police investigations, The Sun reports.
Piven believes he became an "easy target" during the Harvey Weinstein scandal, as the public assumed he was like TV character Ari Gold - the aggressive, womanising and loathsome agent he plays in Entourage.
Speaking for the first time about the impact the claims have had on his career, he said: "You play a major Hollywood guy, who is very abrasive, and we all know those people - they exist, and they're not so fun. It's fun to watch, but we don't want to be around them.
"That's an easy target to take a shot at. Not only who wouldn't believe it, but who wouldn't rally behind it to take that guy down?"
And Piven insists he is nothing like his Entourage character in real life - and he worked hard to build up his Hollywood profile.
He explains: "I am a journeyman actor, stage actor. I am a Jewish stage actor. There is no white privilege. I did 40 movies before I did Entourage where I'm playing blah blah blah's best friend. We were getting scale plus-10 (better pay and work conditions) and I'm grinding, and I wouldn't change a thing, OK? So I've earned every crumb in my life."
Piven, who has made a successful transition into stand-up, says the #MeToo movement has been weakened by the number of false claims by accusers looking to get money and fame off the back of it.
On a podcast with comic Andrew Schulz, he added: "The biggest tragedy of opportunists coming out of the woodwork is that the real victims are taking a step back."
In 2017, Piven offered to take a lie-detector test to prove three women who accused him of sexually assaulting them were lying.
In October of that year, reality TV star and Playboy Playmate Ariane Bellamar became the first woman to accuse Piven of inappropriate behaviour.
"Jeremy Piven, on two occasions, cornered me & forcefully fondled my breasts & bum," she tweeted. "Once at the mansion & once on set."
Two days later Cassidy Freeman, who appeared in Smallville, also accused Piven of sexual assault.
"I know what you did and attempted to do to me when I was far too young," Freeman wrote on Instagram.
"Do you feel powerful? With your lawyers and your networks and your die hard man-fans who call your victims bimbos? Or do you know, in your rotten gut, that you will have to lie for the rest of your life? I hope from now on, you keep it in your pants and you never get to do it again."
A third woman, advertising executive Tiffany Bacon Scourby, told People that Piven assaulted her back in 2003 after inviting her back to his hotel.
"We were talking for about five minutes and he said he was waiting for his (publicist) to come with us," she told the magazine.
"He jumped on top of me. I tried to push him off and he forced me to the ground."
Scourby alleged Piven ejaculated "all over my white turtleneck".
Piven released a statement on Twitter denying the accusations levelled at him.
"Let me begin by saying that the accusations against me are absolutely false and completely fabricated," he wrote.
"I would never force myself on a woman. Period. I have offered to take a polygraph to support my innocence. I keep asking myself, 'How does one prove something didn't happen?'
"What I am not able to do is speculate as to the motivations of these women. As a human being I feel compassion for the victims of such acts, but I am perplexed as to the misdirection of anger with false accusations against me and hope they do not detract from the stories that should be heard.
"We seem to be entering dark times - allegations are being printed as facts, and lives are being put in jeopardy without a hearing, due process or evidence. I hope we can give people the benefit of a doubt before we rush to judgment.
"Continuing to tear each other down and destroy careers based on mere allegations is not productive on any level. I hope we can use this moment to begin a constructive dialogue on these issues, which are real and need to be addressed."
This story originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission