Actor turned comedian Jeremy Piven has said the #MeToo movement tarnished his reputation and cut short his acting career.
The actor says his role as the sleazy, womanising Hollywood agent Ari Gold in HBO's long running dramedy Entourage made him an "easy target" after Harvey Weinstein was outed for his terrible and predatory behaviour, The Sun reports.
After the Weinstein scandal multiple women came forward claiming Piven had acted inappropriately towards them, including allegations of forceful sexual behaviour, but police felt they did not warrant investigations and Piven immediately denied all accusations, even offering to take a lie detector test to prove his innocence.
"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," Piven said, marking the first time he has spoken about how his career was impacted by the allegations. "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?"
Piven said that despite the allegations he was nothing like the aggressive, fast talking character that shot him to fame.
"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," he said. "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."
Two years ago three women accused him of sexually assaulting them. Playboy Playmate Ariane Bellamar was the first woman to accuse the actor of inappropriate behaviour, saying he twice, "fondled my breasts and bum" on Twitter. Cassidy Freeman, an actress who appeared on Smallville, also accused him of similar activity two days later on Instagram.
Tiffany Bacon Scourby, an advertising executive, also came forward claiming Piven had forced her to the ground in his hotel room while they waited for his publicist to arrive, before ejaculating "all over my white turtleneck".
Piven denied all the accusations with a statement on Twitter.
"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?'
Speaking on a podcast Piven said the #MeToo movement had been weakened by the false claims of people looking for money and fame.
"The biggest tragedy of opportunists coming out of the woodwork is that the real victims are taking a step back."