To cap a particularly troubling several days for the restaurant industry, during which many women came forward, several by name—including the actress Siobhan Thompson— to level disturbing allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment against both Mario Batali and Ken Friedman, Anthony Bourdain has penned an essay entitled ‘On Reacting to Bad News’ condemning the perpetrators of these alleged misdeeds and expressing his complete support for the victims.
In the earnest, frank and heartfelt note, Bourdain writes that he will “not waste anybody’s time with expressions of shock, surprise or personal upset” at the news that Batali and Friedman allegedly serially harassed women. He also discounts how much he may have “admired and respected them” in the past, given the claims now being presented about their behavior. In a time when “one must pick a side,” he writes, he has chosen to “stand unhesitatingly and unwaveringly with the women.”
Bourdain seems to credit his girlfriend, the actress and director Asia Argento, who has been a leading voice in the movement to expose Harvey Weinstein and other alleged abusers in Hollywood, for awakening him to the “awful stories” women have had to tell about sexual harassment in the workplace, whether it’s the kitchen or the movie set. He expresses his gratitude for their courage, and says that with Argento’s guidance, he has begun listening and paying attention and has (hopefully) become “slightly less stupid.”
The host of CNN’s Parts Unknown seems to express genuine regret that he was previously not the type of man in whom women could confide, and—as he has previously done, commenting that Kitchen Confidential help propagate “meathead bro culture” in the restaurant industry—writes that he feels remorse for celebrating a culture “that allowed the kind of grotesque behaviors” that is now coming to light in every industry, not just his.
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Bourdain now believes that “nothing else matters but women’s stories.” He is still holding out hope that the industry he has been a part of for decades still has room to change and grow.