The tragic suicide of beloved chef, TV personality and Me Too advocate Anthony Bourdain as well as the similar death of iconic fashion designer Kate Spade earlier in the week has forced a much-needed discussion about mental illness and suicide. In an open letter to all humans, Rose McGowan advocates for a better dialogue about those tough topics and asks for media and critics to respect her friend and Bourdain’s girlfriend, Asia Argento — who some have blamed for Bourdain’s death. According to McGowan, Argento asked her to write the letter and was present during the process.
“I know so many around the world thought of Anthony Bourdain as a friend and when a friend dies, it hurts,” McGowan writes, “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.”
“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…”
Rose McGowan’s full statement with Asia Argento on Anthony Bourdain: pic.twitter.com/cEzTL9Or1T
— Jenna Amatulli (@ohheyjenna) June 11, 2018
She goes on to describe the “instant chemistry” between Bourdain and Argento and how “they laughed, they loved and he was her rock during the hardships of last year.” Argento was one of the first women to come out against Harvey Weinstein in the beginning of the Me Too Movement last October. She described her encounter with Weinstein to The New Yorker and said that he forcibly performed oral sex on her in 1997. After the piece was published, Argento received all sorts of hate and condemnation (as is so often the case) and Bourdain was vocal and fierce in his support of her and the Me Too Movement.
.@rosemcgowan on the relationship between Anthony Bourdain and Asia Argento: “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” https://t.co/u2fidlxs8T
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) June 11, 2018
McGowan goes on to acknowledge that while Bourdain was open about his demons and depression to an extent, the fact that he came from a “pull up your bootstraps and march on” generation and a “strong men don’t ask for help” generation, he was hesitant to accept advice.
“Through a lot of this last year, Asia did want the pain to stop,” McGowan reveals, “But here’s the thing, over their time together, thankfully, she did work to get help so she could stay alive and live another day for her and her children. Anthony’s depression didn’t let him. He put down his armor and that was very much his choice. His decision, not her’s. His depression won.”
McGowan is careful not to blame Bourdain for his own mental illness and instead calls for more education and discussion about depression and suicidal feelings.
“It is in no way acceptable to blame [Asia] or anyone else, not even Anthony,” she writes, “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…
“Please join me in sending healing energy to Anthony on his journey and to all who’ve been left behind to journey without him. There is no one to blame but the stigma of loneliness, the stigma of asking for help, the stigma of mental illness, the stigma of being famous and hurting.”
She concluds with a plea to anyone contemplating suicide or hopelessness to reach out for help and tweeted out a list of suicide hotline numbers for numerous countries.
“If you are considering suicide, reach out. We need you here. You matter. You exist. You count. There is help a phone call away, reach out.”
Please reach out for help. Please know that your family is Not better off without you. Numbers below. pic.twitter.com/MBy461iw9F
— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) June 8, 2018