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    Mark Wahlberg: Get Off Jeremy Piven's Back!

    Jeremy Piven, Mark Wahlberg Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images

    Mark Wahlberg says Jeremy Piven doesn't deserve the scrutiny he's been getting over his mercury-poisoning controversy.

    Wahlberg, a producer of Entourage, has remained pretty much mum over the Piven ordeal, but earlier today he jumped to his defense. Wahlberg insisted the actor was not making up excuses to leave the Broadway revival of Speed-the-Plow when he announced that doctors had advised him to quit the show.

    "It's unfortunate. There's no one more disappointed about it than him," Wahlberg told us at the Callaway Golf Foundation's pro-celebrity tournament benefiting the Entertainment Industry Foundation's cancer research programs.

    "He was so excited," Wahlberg continued, adding, "It's his first love and he was more disappointed than anybody. He's getting a lot of flack about it and it's really unnecessary."

    Maybe so, but Piven was spotted at nightclubs and celeb events during the time he was apparently stricken with the dangerous illness. Producers of Speed-the-Plow have since filed a grievance with the Actors' Equity union over Piven's exit, which came two months earlier than expected. William H. Macy replaced him for the run. 

    Wahlberg joked, "These Broadway guys...do I gotta go beat these guys up or what?"

    At least we think he was joking.

    —Additional reporting by Dahvi Shira

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