An open letter published in the Los Angeles Times implores readers to stand in defense of Asia Argento, who has been bombarded with online attacks, particularly in the aftermath of boyfriend Anthony Bourdain’s suicide. Signed by 45 high-profile names attached to the #MeToo movement, the letter denounces online accusations that Argento is not only somehow responsible for Bourdain’s death, but has used the tragedy and the #MeToo movement to advance her career, as “vicious cyberbullying and repulsive slander at the hands of internet trolls.”
Terry Crews, Rose McGowan, Olivia Munn, Anthony Rapp, and Mira Sorvino are among those who signed the letter to express their support of Argento as “one of the most vocal and unwavering figures” in the #MeToo movement. Argento is one of the many women who have accused disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct. “There has long been a traditional narrative of blaming, vilifying and martyring courageous women,” the letter states. “We reject that narrative.”
The letter also rejects the idea that sharing a #MeToo story is a career booster:
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.
Since Bourdain’s death in June, social media users have repeatedly accused Argento of cheating on him and criticized her behavior and social media presence from both before and after his suicide. Bourdain was an outspoken supporter of the #MeToo movement and Argento’s role in it. “We are here to ask those who are angry and grieving the loss of Anthony to find a healthy outlet for their pain,” the letter states. “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.”
The full letter can be read here.