Anthony Bourdain fans mark today as exactly 10 weeks since we lost him to suicide while filming Parts Unknown in France.
I was pleased this month when you announced that you and Zero Point Zero are putting together a final seven-hour Season 12 using remaining episodes Tony had filmed.
You created a mystery by omitting Florence, which Tony completed with his then-girlfriend, Asia Argento, the week before he traveled to France.
Yesterday, Vanity Fair broke the news that you’re planning a feature-length big-screen “definitive documentary” about Bourdain’s life and work.
Your EVP for talent and content, Amy Entelis, told Vanity Fair, “Because he did reveal himself in the series, there was still a hunger to know more about him.”
I’m quite familiar with this “hunger.” I wrote some blogs about Bourdain in 2007 and Cats Working suddenly became “Bourdain Central.” It remained so for several years until Tony took the plunge into social media himself.
Cats Working has seen a resurgence since his death because readers knew I was covering him when few did, and I’ve promised now to tell his story until there’s nothing left to tell.
In describing your documentary, Entelis said, “We just want to make it perfect. We want to make it exquisite for Tony. We want to do him justice.”
The word “exquisite” has fluffed my tail. Because of your almost-nonexistent reporting on Bourdain’s passing, I expect the most disingenuous puff piece in the history of film.
You cite fan interest as a factor in all your Bourdain-related decisions. What fans want to know is what really happened during Bourdain’s last week of life and why.
The French authorities’ announcement on June 8 was so sketchy, yet 100% conclusive, it didn’t pass the smell test. Aside from a belated admission that Bourdain had alcohol in his system (How much? Who knows!) all we know is that he was cremated five days later (presumably without an autopsy), and his brother Chris received the ashes on June 15.
Since then, there’s been nothing except unconfirmed stories on social media from unverifiable posters who claim to know something.
CNN calls itself “The Most Trusted Name in News.” I used to believe that. But on this story about one of your own, instead of doing your job, you’ve filled the void with personal tributes to pass as news.
Meanwhile, you’ve re-run Parts Unknown omitting episodes that included Argento, like Rome and Southern Italy. Most noticeably missing was the one she supposedly directed in Hong Kong early this year, about which Bourdain said on camera to Anderson Cooper, “Of everything I’ve ever done in my life, this was probably the professional highlight.”
So, CNN, why are you apparently boycotting Asia Argento? What’s your beef with her?
Since Bourdain was your employee, can you shed any light on why his appearance and demeanor seemed to decline beginning in 2016? Or didn’t you notice, even though the progression was painfully evident the last few seasons of Parts Unknown? When he died a few weeks before his 62nd birthday, he looked 80.
You must realize that Tony’s faithful fans have seen hundreds of hours of his globe-trotting. We’ve read reams of interviews discussing his personal and professional life. We’ve read his multiple books describing his travels and personal demons.
What’s your documentary going to add to that? The only missing pieces I can think of are the true and full circumstances surrounding his unexpected and unexplained death.
I can understand your desire to protect the family, particularly his daughter, but Bourdain didn’t die in a vacuum. Many people know something, even if your crackerjack reporters totally missed the story.
Eventually the truth will come out. It would be nice if it came from “The Most Trusted Name in News.” But I fear your documentary is just a cynical ploy to cash in one last time on your biggest globally recognized talent. If so, shame on you.