Update Asia Argento tweeted her support for comments made by boyfriend Anthony Bourdain at today’s Produced By NY conference. “One might think we all need to slam Tarantino’s complicity with Harvey Weinstein,” writes Argento. (See the tweet below).
Previous While their morning session at the Producers Guild of America’s Produced By Conference New York was full of praise for their current home at CNN (as it should have been, given the setting at the Time Warner Center), Anthony Bourdain and producing partner Lydia Tenaglia took some time to consider what might have been.
They recalled the limbo period when they were shifting from Bourdain’s longtime TV home at the Travel Channel, which aired No Reservations, to CNN with the current series Parts Unknown.
During this interim phase, they took a meeting with a Hollywood mogul they declined to name, a media chief who offered them everything they wanted – “including board games,” Bourdain quipped. In the parking lot after the meeting, they decided that doing business with this person would violate their “no as*hole” policy and Bourdain’s voice spoke the loudest urging resistance. “I do remember crying after that speech,” Tenaglia said. “Because it was a lot of money. But he was right.”
Doing the deal, recalled Bourdain, whose girlfriend Asia Argento is one of Harvey Weinstein’s accusers, “would have eaten us alive. It would have destroyed everything – everything that makes us good, everything that makes us happy, our quality of life. It would have been a lethal compromise, a slow-acting poison that would have eaten away our souls until we ended up like Quentin Tarantino, living a life of complicity and shame and compromise.”
The globe-trotting provocateur smiled with relish at the dig at Tarantino, who has admitted knowing some of the details of longtime patron Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct but failing to act. The comment, at the very end of the session, drew a mix of gasps, chuckles and applause.
While Bourdain has spoken out frequently about sexual harassment, the session featured very little of his views on Weinstein, Donald Trump, or the socio-political world at large. Instead, guided by New Yorker staff writer Patrick Radden Keefe, the conversation was pitched directly at the Producers Guild of America event’s audience of filmmakers and creatives, focusing on the logistics, planning and execution of Parts Unknown and other ventures like the documentary (directed by Tenaglia) Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent. They talked about the importance of getting quality fixers, the creative freedom and collaboration they continue to enjoy, and the process of narrowing down a longer wish list to the ultimate destinations that end up on air.
In addition to the shot at the unnamed mogul, the uninhibited Bourdain also tossed some rotten fruit at the Scripps Networks family (except for former Travel Channel head, Pat Younge), with whose execs he maintained a largely “antagonistic relationship” for the better part of a decade. Travel and the Food Network “have this perverse desire to undermine their brands and saw us as a way to do that,” he said.
“In the Food Network’s case, to do penance for some of the utter shit they’ve been unloading for years. And with Travel Channel, it must be hard to make Burger World or World’s Best Roller Coasters year after year after year. We went in assuming the worst and knowing it was going to be war.”
Asked by an audience member about live versus delayed viewing for the CNN show, Bourdain and Tenaglia deferred to a CNN rep in the audience, who said time-shifting accounted for about 40% of the total. “I care how many people see the thing at the end of the year,” Bourdain said. “After all the repeats, all of the countries. Whatever that number is, you feel it when you go places. That’s a number.”
Here’s Argento’s tweet: