Last week, the food world lost a true icon when Anthony Bourdain was found dead of an apparent suicide in a hotel room in France.
He was 61 years old.
Days later, details about the events surrounding Bourdain’s death are slowly beginning to trickle in, but the question of what could have driven one of the most widely-envied men on the planet to take his own life remains unanswered.
Fans and media outlets were quick to point out some unusual social media activity from Bourdain’s longtime girlfriend, Asia Argento, in the hours before the news of his passing became public knowledge.
An image in which the actress is seen wearing a shirt that reads “F-ck Off,” coupled with photos of Argento apparently vacationing with a male friend in France prompted a widespread theory that Bourdain was distraught over relationship problems.
In the final months of his life, Bourdain was an outspoken advocate of the #MeToo movement, and his activism brought him close to some of the most high-profile victims of sexual harassment in Hollywood, including the actress Rose McGowan.
Bourdain and McGowan quickly became close friends, and today, she published an open letter in which she addresses both his death and the rumors about his alleged relationship troubles.
“Sitting across from me is the remarkable human and brave survivor, Asia Argento, who has been through more than most could stand, and yet stand she does,” the letter reads.
“She stood up to her monster rapist and now she has to stand up to yet another monster, suicide. The suicide of her beloved lover and ally, Anthony Bourdain.”
McGowan goes on to claim that Bourdain and Argento were in an open relationship, and she implies he would not have been upset by the sight of Argento with another man:
“Anthony and Asia had a free relationship, they loved without borders of traditional relationships, and they established the parameters of their relationship early on,” McGowan states.
“Asia is a free bird, and so was Anthony. Was. Such a terrible word to write,” she adds.
“I’ve heard from many that the past two years they were together were some of his happiest and that should give us all solace.”
She later states:
“It is in no way fair or acceptable to blame her or anyone else, not even Anthony.”
McGowan says she’s angry about her friend’s death, but she also pleads for sympathy from those who feel that he took his own life out of selfishness or a lack of concern for his loved ones.
Shortly after learning of Bourdain’s death, Argento addressed the matter on Instagram, writing:
“His brilliant, fearless spirit touched and inspired so many, and his generosity knew no bounds. He was my love, my rock, my protector. I am beyond devastated. My thoughts are with his family. I would ask that you respect their privacy and mine.”
We’ll have further details on this developing story as more information becomes available.