Hollywood celebrities who’ve survived sexual harassment and sexual assault banded together to defend the late Anthony Bourdain‘s girlfriend, Asia Argento, in the face of online bullying after the TV chef’s suicide in early June.
Rose McGowan, Terry Crews, Patricia Arquette, Mira Sorvino and other #MeToo advocates collectively wrote a Los Angeles Times open letter, titled An open letter to anyone who loves Anthony Bourdain and what he stood for, to help protect Argento from trolls, who’ve been harassing her and accusing her of being the reason behind Bourdain’s suicide.
After his death, Argento posted a brief statement to her Twitter account, asking for privacy.
Underneath the post, things quickly got out of control when a reader pointed out that Argento, 42, was spotted out in Rome with French journalist Hugo Clément mere days before Bourdain’s death.
The pair is seen in multiple photographs holding hands, hugging and generally looking romantic, leading many to believe (and speculate) that the alleged dalliance may have further contributed to Bourdain’s passing. The theory online goes that Bourdain was thrown into a deep depression spiral by the photos — again, with absolutely no tangible proof that this was the case.
At the time, as the trolling got worse, McGowan wrote another letter defending Argento.
In that letter, McGowan states that she’s sitting with Argento (meaning she had her permission to write and disseminate the letter), and describes her and Bourdain’s relationship as “free,” and that the couple “loved without borders of traditional relationships.”
By the sounds of the letter, Bourdain, 61, and Argento had some sort of open relationship, which means that they could date multiple people at the same time. McGowan insists that the two of them “established the parameters of their relationship early on.”
In this latest op-ed, the Hollywood figures do more of the same, saying Argento “has now found herself on the receiving end of vicious cyberbullying and repulsive slander at the hands of internet trolls who hold her responsible for Anthony’s death.”
The op-ed states that Bourdain was a fervent supporter of the #MeToo movement, and it’s despicable to use archaic, uninformed accusations against Argento when she’s suffering too.
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They argue against the “traditional narrative of blaming, vilifying and martyring courageous women,” and deny that Argento is benefiting in any way from this tragedy. The letter also points out how difficult it can be for victims of sexual assault to come forward — “a highly difficult, sometimes traumatizing and humiliating experience, “a badge of honor or career booster.”
“We are here to ask those who are angry and grieving the loss of Anthony to find a healthy outlet for their pain,” reads the letter. “Asia is a survivor, just as we are, and her fame and outward show of strength does not make her any less vulnerable. Asia is not a headline — she is a human being, and she is in horrific pain.”
The op-ed ends by speaking directly to bullies and any victims of sexual assault.
“Our standing up for her is standing up to any and all bullies. We implore you to be kind to each other, to believe survivors, to stand up for survivors, to encourage, support and sympathize with them.”
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.
The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, Depression Hurts and Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868) all offer ways for getting help if you or someone you know is suffering from mental health issues.
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