As published in the L.A. Times, 12 July 2018:
On June 8, we lost a rare, great man. Anthony Bourdain was a lightning rod of cultural connectivity. He brought disparate, marginalized people together and made the unknown accessible — some of the many gifts that made Anthony such a valuable presence in our collective lives, whether we knew him or not. An unwavering supporter of women and the #MeToo movement, Bourdain’s loss was a tragedy on so many levels, to so many people who saw him as a beacon of a new way of being. We share that grief and deepest sadness for his family and those closest to him whose pain must be unimaginable.
One of the most vocal and unwavering figures in the #MeToo movement has been Asia Argento. At the center of our community, Asia has stood, her fist in the air, fighting daily not just for justice for those of us she has come to know, but for abused people the world over.
Asia has now found herself on the receiving end of vicious cyberbullying and repulsive slander at the hands of internet trolls who hold her responsible for Anthony’s death. She has been accused of everything from causing her boyfriend’s suicide to trying to use her “survivor status” and the #MeToo movement to advance her career.
There has long been a traditional narrative of blaming, vilifying and martyring courageous women. We reject that narrative. If there is one thing we know with unwavering confidence, “sexual violence victim” is not a title anyone wants attached to themselves. Being known as a sexual assault victim isn’t a badge of honor or career booster; it’s a highly difficult, sometimes traumatizing and humiliating experience. All of us who have taken the risk of coming forward — and it is truly a risk to us, our reputations, relationships and mental health — have faced harsh criticism and often outright anger and hatred online, in our respective communities and, for some, within our own families. Yet we come forward in the hope that we can change things for others and end the sexual violence and abuse that has flourished with impunity for millennia.
We are here to ask those who are angry and grieving the loss of Anthony to find a healthy outlet for their pain. Asia is a survivor, just as we are, and her fame and outward show of strength does not make her any less vulnerable. Asia is not a headline — she is a human being, and she is in horrific pain.
We are proud to stand together as silence-breakers. We are so grateful for the foresight and compassion of #MeToo founder Tarana Burke and every member of the community of survivors whose pain deserves equal attention. We are indebted to and linked with every person who has come forward to report their own experiences with sexual harassment, abuse and rape. We are proud of the courage of each and every person who has decided to speak their truth, just as we support those who do not wish to speak. We are proud of the work that is being done, but we are not finished; we have only just begun.
We understand sexual harassment and assault are global epidemics. Our request for Asia is a request for any and all survivors. Our standing up for her is standing up to any and all bullies. We implore you to be kind to each other, to believe survivors, to stand up for survivors, to encourage, support and sympathize with them.
We ask you to stand with us, as we stand with Asia.
Emma de Caunes
Paz de la Huerta
Juliana De Paula
Molly Maeve Eagan
Anna Graham Hunter
Sarah Ann Masse