Since Anthony Bourdain’s death in June, Asia Argento has been the target of some horrific conspiracy theories from people who believe she was actually responsible for her boyfriend’s death. And today several celebrities, many of whom have spoken out about sexual harassment and assault in Hollywood, have written an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times in support of Argento, and to ask all the people harassing her to quit it.
The letter lists over 40 signees including Rose McGowan, Paz de la Huerta, Terry Crews, Mira Sorvino, and Anthony Rapp. They write that while losing Anthony Bourdain, himself a man who spoke out about toxic masculinity in his industry and others, was a tragedy, those who are angry about Bourdain’s death need “to find a healthy outlet for their pain” because cyberbullying his ex-girlfriend isn’t one of them:
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.
“Asia is not a headline — she is a human being, and she is in horrific pain,” they write.
The whole terrible situation is reminiscent of Kurt Cobain death-truthers, who still go after Courtney Love, and it’s unfortunately not surprising that people are assuming the worst in Argento’s outspokenness about her own assault. But the Los Angeles Times op-ed serves as a vital reminder that as much as we see a lot of public support in this moment for Argento and other women coming forward with their #MeToo stories, there are probably hundreds, thousands of terrible people tweeting “murderer” and “liar” at those same women, all the time.