How Anthony Bourdain found a new role as a #MeToo ally

Asia Argento and Anthony Bourdain in September 2017. (Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

Anthony Bourdain was many things to many people: chef, raconteur, adventurer. And in the final months of his life, the Parts Unknown host — who was found dead of an apparent suicide at age 61 — became known as an outspoken supporter of the #MeToo movement.

That’s sparked by Bourdain’s relationship with Italian actress Asia Argento, whom he reportedly began dating in early 2017. In October of that year, the New Yorker and journalist Ronan Farrow published Argento’s claims that film producer Harvey Weinstein had repeatedly sexually assaulted her. The article was key to triggering the very public fall from grace of Weinstein, who was recently indicted by a grand jury. It also won Farrow, along with Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey of the New York Times, a Pulitzer Prize.

For the 42-year-old Argento, the Weinstein exposé was a double-edged sword. Though she experienced victim-shaming and said that she felt “misrepresented” by Farrow’s reporting, she also took on the role of advocate for the #MeToo movement. In May, she gave a powerful speech at Cannes, where she revealed that Weinstein had raped her at the film festival in 1997.

Boyfriend Bourdain was by her side through it all, using his own platform to cheer on Argento and call out Weinstein and other alleged sexual predators, including food industry peer Mario Batali. His Twitter feed was rife with headlines about Weinstein and #MeToo as well as photos of Argento and Rose McGowan, who has also accused the movie mogul of rape.

Bourdain also spoke in interviews about the various #MeToo allegations, including what he told Slate was a “personal failing” that the women in his life hadn’t viewed him as a “natural ally” in whom they could confide.

With his death, Bourdain is being held up as an ally. #MeToo founder Tarana Burke was quick to react to his death, while actress Amber Tamblyn offered a message of support to Argento. Journalist Yashar Ali posted a lengthy Twitter thread about his friend’s commitment to championing #MeToo.

McGowan, meanwhile, posted a video that shows her crying over the news.

A “beyond devastated” Argento issued a statement on Friday.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is open 24 hours a day at 800-273-8255.

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