Anthony Bourdain was found dead in France's luxury hotel, Le Chambard, in Kaysersberg on Friday. The celebrity chef, writer and globetrotting TV host was 61 and is believed to have committed suicide. "We have indeed learned of the death by hanging of the American chef this morning in a luxury hotel in Kaysersberg, Le Chambard," said Colmar's public prosecutor Christian de Rocquigny du Fayel in a statement. "At this stage, nothing suggests the intervention of a third party," he added.
Bourdain's employer, CNN, reported the news, leaving CNN's Van Jones to tell People: “This is the kind of business where at his level, people are notoriously terrible to people,” says Jones. “And Anthony never was. If he had any doubt about how much he meant to us at CNN I wish he could see a whole building just shook. A whole building of hard-nosed journalist who cover floods, fires, assassinations and everything else just stunned into silence.”
I've always really liked Anthony Bourdain, macho warts and all because -- like me -- he is a globalist and lover of people worldwide. I knew that he reported being so happy in his relationship with girlfriend actor Asia Argento, who publicly described a sexual assault by Harvey Weinstein and suffered major public repercussions in Italy. Bourdain was deeply affected by Argento's story and other #MeToo stories unfolding before his eyes. Surely, he was deeply impacted by Asia Argento's fiery speech, sharing the podium with director Ava DuVernay at the closing ceremony of the 71st Cannes Film Festival.
“In 1997, I was raped by Harvey Weinstein here at Cannes,” Argento bluntly told the audience. “This festival was his hunting ground.” She went on to warn abusers in the crowd, “You know who you are. But most importantly, we know who you are. And we’re not going to let you get away with it any longer.”
This is the last article I read about Bourdain, published April 20 in The Daily Beast, and it was about #MeToo. Bourdain sounded stunned to learn first hand what women go though in life -- most women in every country in the world. His words grabbed my heart, because was such a stud muffin and I could see that this man of the world was very impacted to study the female perspective and his own role in advancing what he called "toxic masculinity". I'm not linking this evolution in thinking in any way to Bourdain's suicide. But I want to call out his most recent thinking and how supportive he was of #MeToo, telling Alec Baldwin specifically and men like him who attack #MeToo to just shut up.
As the tributes flood media, Vox details key quotes from a recent interview about #MeToo that Bourdain shared with Isaac Chotiner of Slate. A key quote"
I am a guy on TV who sexualizes food. Who uses bad language. Who thinks our discomfort, our squeamishness, fear and discomfort around matters sexual is funny. I have done stupid offensive shit. And because I was a guy in a guy’s world who had celebrated a system—I was very proud of the fact that I had endured that, that I found myself in this very old, very, frankly, phallocentric, very oppressive system and I was proud of myself for surviving it. And I celebrated that rather enthusiastically.
Besides all Anthony Bourdain's other wonderful qualities, we should remember him really standing up for women. Thank you, Anthony Bourdain. I will miss your globetrotting, sitting down with people everywhere as I've done, perspective deeply. You had wisdom, man. Most people never get there. With admiration and love, I weep for the inner grief that took you to this dark place today. We are shattered. ~ Anne