In the weeks since reporting by the New York Times and New Yorker outed decades of sexual misconduct accusations against film mogul Harvey Weinstein, Italian actress Asia Argento, who went on the record alleging Weinstein assaulted her, has fashioned herself one of the most outspoken voices against the culture of silence and complicity that allowed the former Weinstein Company executive to continue serially abusing women. On social media, she has consistently tweeted out support for her peers in Hollywood who were also victims of Weinstein’s unwanted advances, reposted developments in the case against Weinstein, and even spearheaded the compilation of a list of Weinstein’s accusers—82, as of its publication Saturday. (It’s now pinned to Argento’s Twitter feed.) And she’s done it while enduring shaming and discrediting at the hands of tabloids in her home country—which comes as little surprise, given the role tabloids played in covering up Weinstein’s misconduct for years—that forced her to relocate to Berlin.
Among Argento’s staunchest supporters has been her boyfriend, Anthony Bourdain, the chef and one-time host of Parts Unknown. “I’ve been seeing up close—due to a personal relationship—the difficulty of speaking out about these things, and the kind of vilification and humiliation and risk and pain and terror that come with speaking out about this kind of thing,” he told Slate last week, describing his recent transformation into an outspoken ally for victims of sexual harassment and assault. “That certainly brought it home in a personal way that, to my discredit, it might not have before.” He’s even managed to bring in less-than-subtle references to the Weinstein scandal in other venues, as over the weekend, when he spoke on a Producers Guild of America panel with Lydia Tenaglia, the executive producer of both No Reservations and Parts Unknown.
The pair described the process of finding a home for their new series after No Reservations ended its run at the Travel Channel in 2012; ultimately, Parts Unknown ended up at CNN, but not before Tenaglia and Bourdain took a meeting with an unnamed Hollywood media executive who apparently presented a pretty sweet deal (“including board games,” Bourdain joked, according to Deadline). However, sitting in the parking lot after the meeting—where this Hollywood mogul offered them “a lot of money,” Tenaglia recalled—“they decided that doing business with this person would violate their ‘no asshole’ policy,” Deadline reported.
Here, Bourdain took the opportunity to get in a dig at director Quentin Tarantino, and it’s not even clear if this is hyperbole: “It would have destroyed everything—everything that makes us good, everything that makes us happy, our quality of life. It would have been a lethal compromise, a slow-acting poison that would have eaten away our souls until we ended up like Quentin Tarantino, living a life of complicity and shame and compromise.” (According to Deadline, the quip got Bourdain a few laughs as well as gasps.)
Bourdain was referring, of course, to the recent interview Tarantino gave to the New York Times in which he confessed to knowing the allegations against Weinstein, who distributed Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, and both Kill Bill films, through to Tarantino’s most recent film, Hateful Eight, and who even threw Tarantino an engagement party last month. (When Variety asked Bourdain if he intended to reference the Weinstein scandal, he responded dryly, “One might think.”) “What I did was marginalize the incidents,” Tarantino told the Times’s Jodi Kantor. “There was more to it than just the normal rumors, the normal gossip. It wasn’t secondhand. I knew he did a couple of these things.”
Tarantino’s admissions were prompted by a conversation with Amber Tamblyn, who has also been an outspoken critic of sexual harassment in Hollywood. A week after the stories went live, she posted a notes-app statement from the director on her Twitter, in which he wrote he needed “a few more days to process my pain, emotions, and anger” before he could weigh in. (When he did, it was in the form of an extended, and apparently emotional, interview with the Times.)
In an interview with Slate earlier this month, Bourdain also admitted personal shortcomings surrounding allegations of sexual misconduct in Hollywood—but he’s making up for it these past few weeks by becoming particularly, and pointedly, outspoken, even beyond the offhand dig at Tarantino. “I’m looking back on my own life. I’m looking back on my own career and before, and for all these years women did not speak to me,” he said. “I became a leading figure in a very old, very oppressive system so I could hardly blame anyone for looking at me as somebody who’s not going to be particularly sympathetic.”
After the panel, Argento retweeted a post by Variety recapping the panel. “One might think we all need to slam Tarantino’s complicity with Harvey Weinstein,” she wrote, echoing Bourdain’s final comment.
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