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Jeremy Piven cleared in Broadway sushi dispute

 Actor Jeremy Piven arrives at the special presentation screening of the film
Actor Jeremy Piven arrives at the special presentation screening of the film 'RocknRolla' at the 33rd Toronto International Film Festival, September 4, 2008. REUTERS/ Mike Cassese
— image credit: Reuters

By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Labor group Actors' Equity said on Thursday an arbitrator has cleared actor Jeremy Piven of wrongdoing in a dispute with producers of Broadway play "Speed the Plow," who were upset when he left the show complaining of mercury poisoning from eating too much sushi.

A representative for Piven said the arbitrator's decision was based on medical testimony from doctors, and that the actor spent three days in a hospital as a result of his condition.

"I'm pleased with the outcome of the arbitration and to be completely vindicated in this matter based on the facts and the medical evidence," Piven said in a statement.

Piven, who plays a brash Hollywood agent in the HBO television series "Entourage," seemed a good fit when he was cast last year as a movie producer in the New York production of David Mamet's play "Speed the Plow."

But he left the show in December, two months before his run ended, because of health concerns due to mercury poisoning, and he attributed the condition to eating sushi too frequently.

At the time, the play's producers and some media commentators doubted Piven's explanation was legitimate. The producers filed a grievance with Actors' Equity, but when Piven did not incur union penalties from that proceeding, the producers decided to take the case to arbitration.

The arbitration was heard in New York in June, and on Thursday the result was announced.

A representative for the producers of the show could not be reached for comment.

While Piven is best known for his Emmy-winning role on "Entourage," the 44 year-old actor also stars in movie comedy "The Goods" which opened in U.S. theaters on August 14.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

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