Rose McGowan Defends Asia Argento And Other 'Survivors' In Open Letter About Bourdain's Suicide

by Valerie Williams
Image via David Levenson/Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Rose McGowan writes letter defending fellow MeToo voice Asia Argento

After Anthony Bourdain’s death last week, his partner, Asia Argento, took to Twitter with a heartbreaking message about losing him. In the days since, fellow Harvey Weinstein victim and MeToo voice Rose McGowan saw that her friend needed defending in the wake of her unimaginable loss, as some have laid the blame for his passing at her feet.

In an open letter published by The Hollywood Reporter, McGowan writes, “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.”

“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,” she writes. McGowan explains that she’s been asked to pen the letter, presumably by Argento, as McGowan notes the presence of the actress as she writes. She expresses understanding that Bourdain’s passing hurts for fans who saw him as a friend, but that in mourning his loss, it’s important not to blame anyone. “Many of these people who lost their ‘friend’ are wanting to lash out and blame. You must not sink to that level. Suicide is a horrible choice, but it is that person’s choice.”

McGowan shares that when Bourdain and Argento met, it was “instant chemistry” but that, sadly, the two both battled depression. “In the beginning of their relationship, Anthony told a mutual friend, ‘He’s never met anyone who wanted to die more than him.’ And through a lot of this last year, Asia did want the pain to stop,” she writes.

She writes that Argento did get help and worked through her depression, “so she could stay alive and live another day for her and her children.” Bourdain, however, wasn’t able to get better. But in the horribly sad days since his passing, those close to him thought his last few years were good ones with Argento in his life. “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.”

McGowan explains that Bourdain died after seeking help from a doctor, but not following their advice — and that’s why she’s pleading for no one to blame his surviving partner. “Do NOT do the sexist thing and burn a woman on the pyre of misplaced blame,” she writes. “Anthony’s internal war was his war, but now she’s been left on the battlefield to take the bullets. It is in no way fair or acceptable to blame her or anyone else, not even Anthony.”

“We are asking you to be better, to look deeper, to read and learn about mental illness, suicide and depression before you make it worse for survivors by judging that which we do not understand, that which can never fully be understood,” she says. “We must do more and be better. Anthony, our friend, would want it that way.”

Her letter concludes, “To the media and to the random commenter, Anthony would never have wanted Asia to be hurt, I’d like to think he would want us to have the collective conversation that needs to be had about depression. Blame is NOT a conversation, it is the shutting down of our collective growth. Which is where we are now. We have a choice as humans, shrink to our smaller, uglier selves, or be better and grow as only true Phoenixes can. I urge you to be that Phoenix.”

McGowan also took to Twitter to share a list of suicide prevention hotlines in several countries.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).