Jeremy Piven says he's 'collateral damage' in #MeToo movement: 'I took one for the team'

Suzy Byrne
Editor, Yahoo Entertainment

Jeremy Piven thinks he was an “easy target” in the #MeToo movement.

The Entourage alum, 53, has said little about the multiple sexual misconduct allegations against him beyond his initial strong denial that they were "absolutely false and completely fabricated" and submitting to a detector test in an effort to clear his name. He lost his show, Wisdom of the Crowd, amid the controversy, and decided to go the road doing standup instead.

Jeremy Piven, pictured at the 2017 Emmy Awards, has been doing standup after eight women accused him of sexual misconduct and his TV show was cancelled. (Photo: REUTERS/Mike Blake)

While appearing on comedian Andrew Schulz’s podcast, Piven talked #MeToo, saying he “took one for the team” and calling himself a “case of collateral damage.”

Piven suggested that as men like Harvey Weinstein, Les Moonves, Louis C.K. and Kevin Spacey were taken down with sexual misconduct allegations, his background playing womanizing and abrasive talent agent Ari Gold for so many years led the public to assume he was just like his character.

“This guy is an easy target. He’s a very powerful agent. I’ve created this character,” he said of Gold. “They had just taken down another powerful Hollywood guy. What’s another powerful Hollywood guy? ... 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?’”

Only he insists he just got lumped in with the bad guys — and is nothing like his famous character.

“I am a journeyman actor, stage actor,” Piven said. “I grew up in extreme poverty. My parents are theater actors. I grew up in a retirement home. I am a Jewish stage actor. There is no white privilege. There has never been any 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 and I’m grinding and I wouldn’t change a thing, OK? So I’ve earned every crumb in my entire life.”

He blames the media for the #MeToo movement going off the rails.

“Who benefits from putting that story out?” he asked. “It’s all about the clicks... The editors basically said: Go out there and get me more. Get me those Hollywood actors. Let’s round them up.” He describes the period as a “feeding frenzy.”

He also brought up Geoffrey Rush winning his #MeToo defamation case in May. He said it wasn’t widely reported because it goes against the media’s #MeToo narrative.

Piven says that the #MeToo movement has been weakened by false claims like he says the ones against him are.

“Here’s the biggest tragedy ... because of that and because of opportunists coming out of the woodwork, the real victims are taking a step back. Forget about me, I’m just some random dude who got taken down. I took one for the team. Forget about me. I’m just one dumb life. Who cares? It’s only my whole life that I put toward acting,” he said in jest. “What’s more important than that, it’s a deep misuse of power. It really is.”

He said the one good thing to come out of it has been pay equality for women and referenced his sister, Shira Piven, who is a director.

Piven made it clear that he has no idea what will become of his career, which spanned decades and has seen big successes outside the Entourage franchise, including Old School.

“I don’t know if it will recover,” he said. “Remains to be seen.”

In a subsequent interview with AJWNews.com to promote a comedy show, Piven was asked about the allegations against him. “In the words of our brother, Martin Luther King, ‘No lie can last forever,’” he replied, while also repeating his “took one for the team” line.

Eight women in total accused Piven of sexual misconduct, including an Entourage extra who claimed he groped her on the set. He denied all the claims and provided the media polygraph test results that he passed when asked if he had ever used force to obtain sex.

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