Jeremy Piven quit his Broadway show three months early because of an overexposure to mercury. Sounds serious! And fake! So who's treating him? A celebrity doctor with a shady past named Carlon Colker.
Colker is a former body builder turned celebrity physician and motivational speaker in his early 40's. He's been on weight loss TV shows, promoted wellness with the likes of Christie Brinkley, and coached Shaq. His area of interest has mostly been dietary stuff—he wrote a book called The Greenwich Diet and has shilled for muscle-building health supplements.
And, well, now he's treating Piven's suspicious mercury poisoning (suspicious because Piven is generally thought to be a big ol' skiing enthusiast). Bloomberg reports Colker told them Piven got all that extra mercury in his system because he was "eating sushi twice a day." Which apparently is super-dangerous because the good doctor chatted with the highly-respected medical program Entertainment Tonight and revealed, "Jeremy has spent three days in the hospital recently, and the doctor tells us exclusively that the actor is no longer in New York."
So, Colker's kind of an odd choice from a strictly medical standpoint, but a good guy to pick, we guess, if you have an in-the-public-eye hiccup like this and need a guy in a white coat to smooth it over. Looking at his past, Colker doesn't seem terribly averse to bending truth and getting his name in print.
Oh yes, there's more to him than gargantuan arms and a fame hungry heart. Back in 2004, Colker's expertise was called into question when a class action lawsuit in California, against a company called Cytodyne, claimed that Colker's trial results concerning a weight-loss aid called Xenadrine RFA-1 (which contained now-illegal ephedra) were suspect. The judge ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and awarded them $12.5 million, saying that Colker lacked credibility. Though, that same study was upheld in a Utah court. Forbes ran a story about the whole ephedra mess that year, and mentioned Colker's involvement specifically. That earned them an angry and defensive letter from his attorney.
Colker was also named, in 2003, in three other lawsuits in West Virginia, Illinois, and Missouri for pushing a weight-loss supplement called Hydroxycut. The suits claimed that Colker's various test results—culled from a study at his own Peak Wellness Center in Greenwich (there's an outpost in Beverly Hills, too)—were falsified in an effort to hide the fact that ephedra can, you know, kill you and stuff. He was dropped from the lawsuit in Missouri, and later appointed a chairperson on the "Scientific Advisory Board" for a, you guessed it, dietary supplement company.
All of this is to say that he may be a little lacking in the professional integrity department, so if he were lying when he told press that it might have been Piven's two-meals-a-day sushi habit that raised his mercury levels, it wouldn't be that big of a surprise. Heck, we were already expecting a sushi defense anyway.