Jeremy Piven denies sexual assault, condemns careers destroyed by allegations
In Hollywood, accusations of sexual misconduct have exploded, and they're not stopping any time soon. It seems like every day, we're reading about a new scandal, and watching a different career go down in flames. First it was Harvey Weinstein. Then Kevin Spacey. Then Louis CK. Now, Charley Sheen, Brett Ratner and Richard Dreyfuss.
But are we rushing too quick to judgement? Should we be so eager to punish people, based on allegations? Those are the questions posed by actor Jeremy Piven.
I know, I know - this sounds crazy coming from the guy that played Ari Gold on Entourage. That character was the living embodiment of sexual harassment. He made Harvey Weinstein look like a perfect gentleman. Lloyd should have sued Ari for everything he owned. How was that not the plot of the Entourage movie? Poor Lloyd. He deserved better.
Anyway - does Ari have a point? Three women have accused Jeremy Piven of sexual assault, and he adamantly denies it, even offering to take a polygraph test. On Friday, he released a fiercely worded statement, saying careers are being destroyed based on pure allegations.
"Let me begin by saying that the accusations against me are absolutely false and completely fabricated. 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 and 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 judgement.
"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."
It's a tricky situation. Reports of sexual assault and harassment went unreported in Hollywood for so long. Actually, not just in Hollywood, in real life - just look at the scandal with Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore. It feels like we attack the victims too often, and believe them too little.
But at the same time, what happened to being "innocent until proven guilty"? What if you were falsely accused of something you didn't do, and the career you worked decades to build was on the verge of being destroyed in a day? Is Piven in denial, or telling the truth? Are we judging him, or conflating him with his most famous character?
I'm not if we can all agree on Jeremy Piven's comments. But we can all definitely agree he used to have way less hair: