An open letter signed by more than 40 people, most of them female celebrities but including male actor and abuse victim Terry Crews, has called on the public to stop blaming actress Asia Argento for the suicide of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain.
The letter, published Thursday by the Los Angeles Times, claimed 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 note also said that Argento has been accused by online commenters of using the #MeToo movement and Bourdain’s suicide to advance her career.
The letter’s signatories included Crews; actresses Rosanna Arquette, Paz de la Huerta, Natasha Henstridge, Oliva Munn, and Mira Sorvino; and Fox reporter Lauren Sivan, who was one of the first women to go public with an accusation against disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein.
Argento has been blamed by some online commenters for Bourdain’s suicide in June. Pictures of her with another man surfaced several days prior to Bourdain’s death, and some prior online postings by her seemed to indicate a romantic split from Bourdain. Some observers used the information as evidence to blame her for pushing a despairing Bourdain over the edge, although her defenders claimed the couple had an open relationship.
“We are here to ask those who are angry and grieving the loss of Anthony to find a healthy outlet for their pain,” said 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 letter concluded, “Our request for Asia is a request for any and all survivors. 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. We ask you to stand with us, as we stand with Asia.”
The LA Times comments section following the open letter was mostly filled with negative reactions and critical posts condemning the conflation of #MeToo with Bourdain’s suicide.