On June 8th, food and travel lovers around the world were shocked to hear of the tragic death of Anthony Bourdain, a beloved celebrity chef and lover of the world and all its cultures, Bourdain had been working on an episode of his travel series, Parts Unknown, in Strasbourg, France, when he was found dead in his hotel room. Fans and audiences became more heartbroken to learn that the 61-year old's cause of death was suicide by hanging. This news has predictably prompted conversation about mental health awareness and the rise of male suicide. Having looked into the topic, I believe I can shed some light on why Mr. Bourdain may have chosen to end his life, and it has surprisingly little to do with possible unknown mental issues.
First, we should examine events leading up to the suicide. It is well-known that Bourdain was a lover of life and proud advocate of experiencing world cultures. His own mother, Gladys Bourdain noted after her son's death that, "[Bourdain] is the last person in the world I'd imagine to do something like that." Close friend and fellow chef Eric Ripert also noted that Bourdain showed no signs of mental distress prior to his suicide, but was noticeably and suddenly distant during the week before.
I propose that the matter, which may have driven Bourdain to suicide, was none other than his relationship with girlfriend Asia Argento. For those who are unaware, Argento was a prominent figure in the Weinstein sex scandal along with Rose McGowan. Both women claimed to have been sexually harassed by Weinstein in the past, and have been powerful voices against him. Argento and Bourdain began their relationship in 2017, with Bourdain himself speaking out against Weinstein.
A look into the past of Argento, however, reveals that this woman is by no means a good person, much less one deserving of trust. Born in Italy, Argento enjoyed a career as an actress and director until having her first child in 2001, by Italian musician Mario Castoldi, out of wedlock. She married film director Michele Civetta in 2008, then divorced him in 2013 after birthing her second child. Not only is her relationship history telling of her character, but Argento's claims against Weinstein are also suspect as well. Argento has stated that she was sexually assaulted by Weinstein in the 1990s, but continued to have consensual, sexual relations with him over the next five years.
This behavior doesn't seem to match that of a person who was supposedly sexually assaulted— something that the Italian media was quick to pick up on, after which she was criticized for her account of said events. Argento then moved to Germany to escape what she called "victim blaming." This suspicious and dishonest nature culminated, in what I believe, is Argento's worst act of all, and one that ties directly to Bourdain's tragic suicide.
On June 9th, just a day after Bourdain's suicide, Metdaan.com published an article detailing Argento's reunion with Hugo Clément, a prominent French journalist credited for his coverage of events in Africa, such as famine in the Congo. In the article, Argento and Clément are described as a "happy couple," smiling and holding hands as they walked the streets of Rome. I ask you, what kind of woman would be so openly affectionate with a man other than her boyfriend? Much less during the same weekend of his death?
No woman would be capable such a thing. A monster, on the other hand, who cares nothing for the men around her besides the utility they provide her, could easily do this much and more. The pattern throughout Argento's relationships couldn't be more clear. Musician. Filmmaker. Producer. Celebrity chef and travel enthusiast. Famous Journalist. Argento is clearly no stranger to monkey-branching onto successful men to get her way, using them to her advantage, then discarding them once their utility is exhausted.
In my opinion, it is very probable that Argento's dishonesty and complete lack of empathy towards Bourdain may have driven him to such a desperate act. A close friend of Bourdain told People Magazine that he was, "...madly in love with Asia," to a point that some of his friends became worried about just how love struck he was. It doesn't take a genius to realize that Argento's relationship with Clément was far closer than a professional one, and I'm sure that Bourdain came to the same conclusion. Whether or not it was this alone which drove Bourdain to suicide, I can't say for sure. What I will express, however, is my righteous anger toward Asia Argento, women who freely use and abuse men, and anyone who seeks to defend or shield them from criticism.
Among Argento's defenders is the aforementioned Rose McGowan, fellow Weinstein accuser and peddler of the new narrative that Argento and Bourdain shared an "open" relationship, no doubt in order to deflect from the obvious reality that Argento was simply cheating on Bourdain. Not that anything a woman convicted of cocaine possession says should be taken seriously, right? I'm tired of the endless deflection of blame away from women, and the persistent narrative that it's men's own masculinity which is causing male suicide rates to spike. As a man, I can say that we are not so easily broken. It is our biological instinct to protect, provide for, and shoulder the burdens of society, after all. When betrayed by the people we love and ignored by those from whom we seek help, however, we become disenchanted with the world around us, and can manifest our sorrow into destructive acts such as suicide.
My wish is that in time, society will realize that men, though we don't often show it, have a need for vulnerability too. We are forced to hide our shame, emotions, passions, and love from society, women, and other men to avoid being seen as weak and without value. With the current demonization of men and masculinity throughout society, I'm not sure I see much change on the horizon. This is why I encourage men to reject their use as tools of other men, women, and society as a whole by focusing on their own happiness and self-fulfillment. The tragic suicide of Mr. Anthony Bourdain is just the latest in an unsettling trend, one which will end only when men can look within themselves to unlock their greatest power: the strength to walk away.