Open Letter to CNN: Cashing In On Bourdain?

By Karen

Dear CNN,

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.

104 Responses to Open Letter to CNN: Cashing In On Bourdain?

  1. Joanne says:

    I agree with you totally Karen,.although I am glad that AA ill be omitted

  2. mrc551 says:

    Maggie here…Thank you for this excellent summation, Karen! When everything is added up it makes no sense as to why CNN is subtracting Argento from the picture. I have never expected that CNN make a public denunciation of AA, but it is just flat-out odd that they did not report on his last days. Especially in light of the fact that Tony & AA made their relationship very public on social media.

    Something else…last week, Michael Ruhlman was in Greece. While dining in a Greek restaurant, he posted a story to his IG. He had panned his camera along a wall to show some photos. There, at the top, was a framed photo of Bourdain. A very flattering photo, and he had a BIG smile on his face. Ruhlman captioned it…”Still, everywhere”. Man, that brought back an instant return of grief and loss. The expression, “gut-punch” is overused, but that’s exactly what it felt like.

  3. pixelpixie66 says:

    Thank you Karen, for addressing what we’ve all been thinking (and grieving over). Still in shock. Still devastated… and AA, I am still angry and I still blame you.

  4. catsworking says:

    Joanne, I’m glad they’re keeping her face off our TV screens as well, but I want to know why. As it is, they’re just giving her a pass to make up anything she wants to explain it. We’ve seen how well the media sitting on its thumbs has worked with Trump.

  5. catsworking says:

    To all the commenters on this so far, thank you. Last night when I saw that Vanity Fair article about the documentary, naming US, his fans, as the rationale for it, I went ballistic. There’s been a story sitting out there for 10 weeks and CNN has tip-toed around it.

    I can’t think of another celebrity who died and instantly got shoved into a closet the way Bourdain has. Michael Jackson had 3 minor children, yet all the details of his death came out so they’ve had all these years to process the truth and move on.

    Due to CNN’s quiet editing-out of Argento, which no one but diligent Bourdain fans would notice, I believe CNN knows she’s at the center of things, yet for some reason they’re protecting her. They’re an international news organization. If she’s done something and it’s provable fact, they should report it. Let her sue them. She’d lose.

    If they’re staying mum for Bourdain’s family, who else do they shield? They play right into Trump’s hands by cherry-picking their reporting.

    I hate to say it, but this, on top of the overly sensational, biased way I’ve seen them report some cruise ship incidents to portray cruising as certain death, does make me think Trump isn’t totally wrong about CNN.

    If they expect us to shell out $$ for whatever they put out about Bourdain, they at least owe us the truth. I felt like I needed to throw down the gauntlet and let them know we’re not stupid. We expect some answers. If not from “The Most Trusted Name in News,” then we’ll keep digging until something shakes loose. It will.

    And I thought maybe if I got Cats Working on CNN’s radar, they’d come here to see what we’re saying, because this has been the most rational ongoing discussion about him I’ve seen anywhere on the internet — ever.

  6. CC says:

    Karen, very well said! Thank you, what you said is what I’m thinking about this CNN silence so strange and annoying. I loved your letter. You spoke for me, you have been speaking for all his fans and for that we really think you’re awesome and we thank you very much, indeed!

  7. catsworking says:

    CC, thanks. CNN can run all the Bourdain specials they want, but I’m not watching them unless there’s some mention of telling the real story.

    I don’t feel the same about ZPZ. They’ve got all the goods in the years of footage and they were right there with Tony when he died. If they were free to produce a documentary about him, I feel it would be more honest than anything they will ever do with CNN’s fingers in it.

  8. Lynn says:

    CNN hasn’t been a real news network for a long time. They are reality TV infotainment, lead by former reality TV and Apprentice producer Jeff Zucker. An endless parade of soap opera level non-news on Trump, while the real news is going by on the tiny scroll.

    There was a terrorist attack recently in London – no coverage. Cancer could be cured, you’d never hear about it on CNN. They cover nothing but Trump, but even in that narrow realm, other than Russia, it’s all about how racist he is (this is not news, we’ve known for quite a while, thanks), whether ‘dog’ is a racist term (yes, jackass Don Lemon spent a good 30 minutes on this BS the other night), and whomever he’s Tweet-hating at the moment.

    Meanwhile the policies he’s enacting that actually harm people, beyond the immigration stuff, are not covered at all. Namely, environmental rollbacks. I was telling a friend recently that Cheeto/the Repubs want to gut the Endangered Species Act. She had no idea. This is a total dereliction of duty by CNN + MSNBC. They play right into Cheeto’s hands, allowing him to do these things in secret. I get more news in 22 minutes from the tattooed, pierced 15 year olds on Vice News than I do in 24 hrs of CNN “coverage”.

  9. Anita says:

    Wow, Karen applause applause! Did you email this to them? I hope someone read it. The lack of any details surrounding AB’s death is very strange. There might be some type of cover up going on by CNN. Maybe they are just trying not to get sued for wrongful death by AB’s family so they are keeping all the details quiet. Could he have asked for a break in filming and some executive at CNN said “no” because of all the money that would have cost? Pure speculation but someone knows something and no one is talking.
    Except the b.s. from AA’s mouth which seems like it stopped.

  10. Morganlf says:

    Well put Karen. CNN has been strangely silent.

    I think something legal is brewing.

    Argentos IG has not been active since 7/23. Gone are the pouty weird videos of her & friends mugging for the camera post Tony’s death & the cryptic messages.

    She may be trying to sue ZPZ & CNN and others.

    My cable On Demand does have her episodes Rome and Southern Italy available, but not Hong Kong, she may be tying that up and threatening lawsuits or she may have information she’s threatened to release.

    But who is she to intimidate a network? Even if she has some info how bad can it be?

  11. catsworking says:

    Lynn, it’s even worse than I thought. I agree that ALL media should declare a total blackout on Trump’s fucking tweets and anything stupid he says unless it creates an imminent threat we need to know about. Just report on the resistance and investigations and other world news and omit all of his ignorant, unconstructive responses. Starve him of attention until he straightens up or resigns.

    I never watch CNN.

    For TV news, I watch MSNBC: Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell. I’m also good with Brian Williams, although he’s on so late I feel like he’s serving up leftovers. But I trust those three to be old-school enough to at least attempt to be thorough and objective in a crunch.

    Mornings, I have Morning Joe on, but I can’t stand him or Mika. I don’t pay much attention because I’m reading the paper, but it’s more professional than the personal chit-chit at Today, CBS This Morning where I have no use for Nora or Gayle, and ABC Whatever, which I’ve never watched. I have no idea who any evening anchors. Is Lester Holt on NBC? I do like him, but don’t watch him.

    I get most of my news from the local paper (increasingly a pathetic joke — they reformatted to bury all Trump atrocities in the middle and use the front page for the latest Civil War news and too-in-depth coverage of local murderers and molesters. I also get The Washington Post and read a great mag called The Week, which consolidates a lot of publications.

    During the day I’m online watching headlines and tracking any stories that catch my attention.

    Almost forgot: Trevor Noah, Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, John Oliver, and Bill Maher.

    Fox “News” and football never pollute TV screen. 😉

  12. Lily says:


    You are looking for stuff that is not there and being cruel to Anthony’s colleagues at CNN; specifically Anderson Cooper who is a very honest man of high integrity and a very close friend of Anderson. Anderson’s own brother died by suicide. Lastly, the way social media is, his daughter does not need to read fanatic fan crazy assumptions. His family approved his cremation and how the case was handled. Sorry you missed out on all the sensationalism. Just stop. He is not your family. Nor did you persobally know him. It is very telling that he did not divorce his wife and regularly visited.

    Hope you never have to experience this pain. You have no filter.

  13. catsworking says:

    Welcome, Lily, and thanks for your perspective on this.

    I agree with you about Anderson Cooper. I think he’s one of the best people at CNN. I mentioned him only to describe that Bourdain was speaking to Anderson on CNN when he said he thought the Hong Kong episode was a highlight of his career. They were friends. It was in no way a condemnation of Anderson, but merely an observation that CNN is disregarding Bourdain’s opinion for some reason by not re-airing that episode. I don’t think it’s in any way out of bounds to wonder why.

    If you were a regular reader, you would know that this site doesn’t cater to “fanatic fan crazy assumptions,” nor are we interested in “sensationalism.” I became personally acquainted with Tony about a decade ago, but I’ve never claimed to “know” him. I’m still in touch with his wife and well aware they remained on good terms and never divorced. She is an amazing woman and doing her best to cope in the aftermath and care for their daughter.

    All we’re seeking is truth and closure. There are many things about the situation that don’t add up. Maybe the answers will always remain under wraps, but we’ll never know unless we ask the questions.

    It’s true that none of us who followed his career for many years can ever fully grasp the pain felt by those who were actually in his life, but we are grieving as well because we loved his talents, all the goodness that was in him, and his positive influence on the world.

  14. Donna Pavone says:

    This just popped in my head-I wouldn’t be surprised to see AA on a European “Celebrity Apprentice”. Something else has been bothering me. Why would Tony live over the shop in Time Warner? Very weird to me but I’m not sure why? One of your readers described his apartment as a “soulless white box”. I rather liked the place,price aside,but somehow I find his decision to live on top of CNN as soulless. What a dark,empty gesture

  15. catsworking says:

    Donna, is there such a thing as European Celebrity Apprentice? If so, it would seem to be a natural for AA, although business acumen isn’t something I’d associate with her.

    CNN has its offices in the Time Warner Center, so Tony was probably able to make a phone call and line up a place to go without apartment-hunting. My favorite features of that place are the master bath and the view. But any empty unit with white walls does seem pretty stark. It explains why he was snapping up art to fill the walls.

  16. Lorelle Van Pelt says:

    I do feel after reading your comments since his death, that at times your comments lack journalistic rigour and a true empathy for his family. Sometimes your language is very emotive and overtly biassed which makes me query your motives. This needs to be about views that are backed by empirical evidence and not a contest about who knows AB best. I do have concerns and misgivings about what has happened happened but I would never assume to know the psychological makeup of Bourdain as you have done in your comments .

  17. Mira says:

    Out of sheer boredom and sick curiosity, I have been google translating AA related Italian media coverage. It seems she has gone silent ( on IG and Twitter) around the same time she got into a twitter war with local Italian politicians, namely the Minister for internal affairs. Her daughter has also had negative coverage, re some vandalism in Rome ( tagging on public transport…), and AA has the usual negative coverage in the local media. She is also busy with the Italian X factor and some local festivals. And busy suing people left , right and centre.
    Thank God, my long leave is soon over, and my real work will drag me away from this aimless pursuit…

  18. Donna Pavone says:

    Karen-there’s UK Celebrity Apprentice,I’m not sure of other European cities but with Top Model,The Voice (and probably other franchises) I wouldn’t be surprised. AA brings if not Celebrity,enough Notoriety producers would snap her up. Stormy Daniels was set to appear on U.K. Celebrity Big Brother (I’ve never watched it….anyone?) until some VERY last minute legal flap prevented her her joining the cast) Ratings,ratings,ratings!

  19. Dingobeast says:

    As far as AA and CNN, my instinct is that there is a legal reason they are not mentioning her. Also, I think they just don’t want to give her any of the attention or money she desperately craves. I think it will be perhaps the biography that may give us some idea of his last days. Maybe sometime in the future we will see something more honest.

  20. Lynn says:

    Karen if you are in touch with Ottavia why doesn’t she answer some of these questions – like why was the ‘funeral’ if you can even call it that so tiny and more secretive than the most covert CIA operation? Why was this all handled like, as you’ve said, Tony just vanished and then…nothing.

    I still don’t get the silence of everyone. I will say it again – Omarosa is spilling like crazy on the President and presenting secret recordings. She’s not cowering in fear of lawsuits. Yet no one who cared for Tony can see past their fear of a D lister with few financial assets? Or are they like Congress, who are afraid to speak out because they fear the wrath of Trump’s cult. Perhaps they fear appearing as if they’re piling onto a #metoo movement leader. Whistle blowing is always a good thing, and regardless, eventually a tell-all unauthorized bio will come a la the Andrew Morton variety.

    Has anyone seen the tease for the final season of Parts? I haven’t cried since the day I found out Tony was dead, but wow. It’s tough. It’s basically a still photo of Tony sitting in a barren landscape, and all you hear are crickets. And then the words on screen ‘One final trip around the world’. It made me think you guys are right on about CNN monetizing his death. Gee why not just show a black crow landing on Tony’s shoulder while you’re at it, CNN. Or a robed, hooded figure with a sickle slowly entering frame left. Were you unable to secure the rights to ‘Don’t Fear the Reaper’ by Blue Oyster Cult to play in the background? Nice subtlety.

    Re: Anderson Cooper. Based on his tossing his supposed close friend Kathy Griffin to the wolves after her Trump head affair, I don’t have much regard for him. He seems extremely cold and stand-offish and willing to toss anyone under the bus for his own sake. No fan of Kathy but she certainly thought they were friends and seemed genuinely heart broken by his icy treatment.

  21. jwg22 says:

    I want to see the footage of Tony in France with Eric. As far as I’m aware, they had at least some footage and one meal filmed (can’t find source atm, but I remember seeing a picture of them eating together). There must have been exchanges, conversations, and final glimpses at Tony. Even though it would be morbid to see this footage, and I understand why they won’t show it now, I hope to see it someday.

    Also, regarding the final season, I think Tony would be okay with that. Perhaps even ok with the book, provided it will be written by his long-time assistant and co-writer. But a movie? Tony would have hated that idea.

  22. catsworking says:

    Lorelle, welcome and thank you for giving me my laugh of the day at the notion of finding journalistic rigour on blogs. Cats Working, like millions of other blogs, has always been a site of opinions. I do try to back mine up with facts as much as possible because I dislike talking out of my ass, but in the end, my opinions are my creations, like them or not.

    I also entertain the opinions of others, even if I don’t agree with them, and even if they are personally critical of me. I can count on less than one hand the number of people I’ve banned in 11 years of blogging, which is more than I can say of certain thin-skinned “celebrities” implicated in this situation.

    I also publish under my own name, rather than hide behind a screen name. This is what allowed Anthony Bourdain to locate and contact me directly about a decade ago. He knew what I was all about from the beginning, and my track hasn’t changed. He would be contemptuous of any attempt to whitewash his story, and I am trying to honor his memory by seeking honesty.

    If you have found posts or comments here objectionable, I have always offered all comers an open invitation to stop reading and click elsewhere.

  23. catsworking says:

    Donna, I read just this morning that Stormy Daniels pulled out of CA UK because she said the producers were trying to steer her to a certain outcome. Kirstie Alley is apparently in the same house this season. Sad that these 40(50?)-something actresses are forced to go overseas for want of gigs here, although Stormy is booked at a Richmond strip club called Paper Moon sometime soon and it’s the biggest thing that’s ever happened to that place. I’ve seen it and to call it “seedy” would be a kindness.

  24. catsworking says:

    Dingobeast, I agree with you that something legal may be afoot, and the hope Laurie Woolever is brave enough to tackle his last days in the biography, since CNN may not feel it’s in a position to do it, for whatever reason.

  25. catsworking says:

    Lynn, in spite of our occasional differences, I think I love you. I had forgotten about Anderson and Kathy Griffin, but I did think he did her a real dirty over the Trump severed head and she had every right to feel betrayed.

    Haven’t seen the teaser for the new Parts Unknown season. Sort of dreading it. The first episode will be business as usual, but the ones without Tony’s narration will be tough to watch. But I trust ZPZ to do the most amazing job they can with what they’ve got to work with.

    As for Ottavia, in spite of the accusations flung at me since my CNN post that I have no filter or journalistic “rigour,” I am extremely sensitive to her feelings and what she’s going through now. These days I think about her more than Tony. For many years since I met and spent some time with her, I have cared about her like a daughter or a little sister or a close cousin. We have the Italian thing in common. We had a desire for Tony’s well-being in common.

    I’ve asked her questions that haven’t been answered, but I’m perfectly OK with that. I’m an outsider and am grateful for her friendship and trust. I feel she will tell me whatever she can when the time is right. She has been with Cats Working since its first posts about Tony. I know she cares about us here and considers us her allies.

    My role from the beginning has been to give her and Tony honest feedback. I continue to do so, even if it may appear I’m being callous. If I were with Ottavia face to face, I’d say the same things I said to CNN. We just want the truth and closure, and I’m sure she must want the same for herself and her daughter.

  26. catsworking says:

    jwg22, I agree with you about not wasting Season 12 and that he probably would have considered the full-length documentary exploitive. OK maybe for a CNN special, but to sell tickets in cinemas? No.

    In France, there was that one lunch filmed at the window table with Eric. After Tony’s death, that table became a morbid tourist stop. Perhaps in the 2-hour finale of Season 12 they will show at least a bit of it, or maybe it’s too soon.

  27. gettngclear says:

    Shortly after Bourdain passed away, I entertained a fantasy of Darren Aronofsky making a documentary of the season 12 footage though I expect that would be much too painful, realistically.

  28. Lynn says:

    Fair enough, Karen re: Ottavia. I do think it says a lot about her that, while many in her position might have viewed you with disdain or even concern, given that you were blogging about Tony and he had expressed that he wasn’t thrilled with some of the content in the beginning, she was nice to you. Not in a placating ‘this person might become a stalker so I have to pretend to be nice to avoid provocation’ way, but in a genuine way.

    And objectively, Ottavia is not the best person to be putting the truth out there, given that she’s his ex wife and was not on set during the Ashtray drama. It should be someone who was there. I still think it odd his service was so secretive and tiny, however. That was more the part that I thought she might be willing to answer.

    I also was laughing at the suggestion that you are a ‘journalist’ or should have journalistic ‘rigor’. And since when do filters exist on blogs or social media? AJ Benza has fashioned himself as a tabloid-style “journalist”. So does that mean everything he says is vetted and thoroughly researched? He is beyond sure that Ottavia cheated on AB with a fellow MMA’er. He claims to know people in that MMA world who ‘confirmed’ it. I wouldn’t blame her since Tony was away so much but just saying…

  29. catsworking says:

    Lynn, I always expect to get some pushback when I take a controversial stance. Someone once wrote something like they hoped my cats eat my eyeballs out. But if the recent commenters think I was rough, they obviously haven’t read the Geriatric Genius. It was a matter of time before Team AA found me. I’m surprised they haven’t been more vocal.

    When Bourdain first contacted me, I responded and assured him he had nothing to fear from me. I live nowhere near him and wasn’t diving in his dumpster for dirt. I was just pulling together bits of information that anyone could find about him on the internet if they looked hard enough. He couldn’t refute that.

    At the time, I thought he was coming across in his shows as solitary. I wondered about that and tapped into a vein of curiosity about Nancy and Ottavia. Before Google did something to its algorithms, or I did something to piss off Google, Cats Working was at or near the top of Bourdain searches. I don’t think it comes up anymore, so I’m always surprised when new people find me.

    I haven’t asked Ottavia about the funeral because it felt like prying. I did expect to see some little note of it published somewhere, but haven’t.

    Regardless of what AJ Benza may think he’s confirmed with young gym rats who may like to brag about making Bourdain a cuck, I don’t for one minute believe Ottavia was unfaithful. I think her daughter takes MMA lessons at the same studio, as did Tony. She’d be an idiot to shit where she eats, and she’s far from an idiot.

    On the other hand, once Tony went after Asia, all bets were off and Ottavia was free to find her own happiness. She’d been living pretty much as a single mother during her marriage. I’ve read some of her posts on Reddit, and there does seem to a relationship with her sparring partner Eddie. If so, I’m glad she has someone strong to lean on in dealing with this mess.

    I agree with you that she isn’t the voice who needs to set the record straight about AA. It would come off as sour grapes.

  30. Karen, she pretty much confirmed their relationship on reddit.

  31. Bob says:

    Very well thought out and said Karen. I also gave up looking for news on CNN and instead I’ve been reading the posts over on Geriatric Genius. At least Bruce and the motley crew of bar patrons seem to have some objectivity on the subject.

  32. catsworking says:

    Hob, these are exactly the posts I saw that said it all for me, too. 😉

    Bob, thank you. GG has been a LOT harder on AA than I’ve ever been.

  33. Lynn says:

    Oh I’m not judging Ottavia at all, but for me it’s a bit of a stretch to think a vibrant Italian woman in her prime would be celibate when her husband is gone most of the year, whether Ashtray was in the pic or not. Plenty of people shit where they eat – Mika and Joe, Tony and Ashtray….

    Speaking of Ashtray, can’t believe I never heard of this till now, but there’s a documentary I just saw called “Author: The JT Leroy Story.” It’s fascinating for two reasons. 1. This Brooklyn writer in her 40’s (Laura Albert) fooled the entire literary establishment and tons of celebs into thinking she was a young male HIV+ former prostitute “JT Leroy” from West Virginia (JT’s 3 novels were hugely successful) and 2. Ashtray features prominently as one of those celebs.

    As JT got more famous, people demanded to see him (this was in the ’90s pre-social media). So Laura had her boyfriend’s sister (who looked masculine) play JT at public appearances in a wig and sunglasses. JT later claimed to be transgender as people began to suspect JT was not male.

    Ashtray met ‘JT’ (Laura’s sister) in Europe and began an affair with her (there are photos and audio as proof in the documentary – photos eerily similar to those she took with Hugh and AB) in order to get the rights to the book, which she later made into the god awful film “The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things’. In the documentary, Laura (as herself) notes that Ashtray “would have done ANYthing to get the rights”. There is audio of Ashtray using what she thinks is a sexy whisper on the phone saying “You’re the sexiest person I ever met” to “JT”/Laura’s sister. It was sheer emotional manipulation of someone she thought at the time was a vulnerable former prostitute. It made my skin crawl.

    Eventually the NYT and New York mag exposed Laura’s hoax, with the help of her long-time boyfriend who ratted her out. Many of the celebs were understandably pissed.

    Laughably, the world’s biggest user Ashtray was livid that she was used – that her private calls with ‘JT’ were taped and included in the documentary:

    I mention this as further proof that AA is a shameless uber-user who uses her sexuality, gross as it is, to get what she wants from men, women and every gender in between. (She claims she and “JT” never slept together but, as with Hugh, pics don’t lie.)

  34. Karen, what upsets me most about AA and RM is that they diminish the suffering of HW’s real victims. They hurt the whole #metoo movement with their narcissism. It doesn’t just upset me, it angers me that these assholes hijacked a legitimate cause to further their own agendas.

  35. Bob says:

    I would also like to add a quick comment on Cats Working and the Bourdain’s in very general terms. I remember the earliest days when I discovered your page and the frequent encounters you had with Ottavia and Tony. The frenzied hunt for Nancy and his rise from humble cook to global celebrity.

    I am very happy that you have managed to keep that connection alive and I am positive that if Ottavia has anything to share about the final months or weeks of Tony’s life she would come to you and trust that as always you would handle the information with the highest regard.

  36. Karen, I can’t find the post at the moment but you mentioned visiting Newfoundland and the waitress said she wished she could get on a plane to go with you. That’s just our sense of humour. We *love* it here but know it’s insane to love it here, lol Just wanted to let you know that. And it doesn’t feel “isolated” if you’ve lived here your whole life. My family drove off the island every year when I was growing up. I’ve also traveled extensively, but I admit that some Newfoundlanders haven’t left the island. Not many, though.

    Anyway, just wanted to say that. 🙂

  37. One more thing and I”ll shut up. Bourdain visited Saint Pierre and Miquelon and I had totally forgotten a childhood trip there. I’ve been to France and forgot all about it. We went by boat unlike Tony.

  38. catsworking says:

    Hob, I agree with you about the damage AA is doing to the #MeToo movement by lumping her non-rape story in with women who were attacked and didn’t turn around and use their abusers for profit and fame. I really don’t know what happened to RM — never really cared to find out — but I’m assuming he forced her to have sex.

    Collectively, they’ve shown themselves to be in it for the attention more than justice. The movement would do well to pick more credible standard-bearers.

    So, Hob, you’re from Newfoundland… Actually, the waitress did seem pretty unhappy, but I’ll take it that she was really joking. I really liked it there, although it was a ship’s port call that lasted only a few hours. I love Canada in general but haven’t seen enough of it. Reader Bob is our man in Winnipeg.

    Bob, thank you for the kind words. As one of the original gang, you know I’ve never been out to “get” the Bourdains and that’s never changed. Yes, I’ve been critical at times, but that’s any fan’s right. The bottom line is that I’ve always tried to be as honest as possible.

  39. I’m not surprised that the waitress was unhappy. Due to financial/family issues, I haven’t left the island in 10 years. Last trip was Ireland. I’ve joked that if I see “Signal Hill” one more time, I’ll end it all. My mom was a travel nurse in the States, which was such an eye opener for me. I visited so many states and my opinion of the US was changed dramatically. Mom was big on travel as an education, so I was lucky to visit several parts of Europe at a young age.

    Signal Hill:,_St._John%27s

  40. I have to add that my opinion of the US was positive. I grew up watching US television and news. The news is sooo sensationalized that I thought I’d be murdered immediately! Instead, I met people just like me, which was Bourdain’s message.

  41. catsworking says:

    Laura, I read all about this JT Leroy affair some weeks ago. It’s just another example of AA using anybody — any gender — to get what she wants. Her upbringing must have been twisted beyond belief to turn her into the scheming, damaged piece of work she is today. I feel sorry for her two kids. They don’t to a prayer of normal, happy lives while they have to deal with their mother the freak show.

    I’m sticking to my guns with Ottavia. She had her daughter, the nanny, and the nanny’s son always there (not to mention being outed to Tony’s mom Gladys and her own parents if they got wind). I just don’t see her as the sneaking-around type. I should think she’s distinctive-looking and well-known enough around NYC that she couldn’t have gotten away with it without something being printed. And I don’t see her doing it with guys in broom closets just to get her rocks off. She had too much to lose.

    I read one story online quite a while ago (before the split was announced) on some site that accused her of sleeping with everybody even while saying, “Whether Ottavia is actually cheating is yet to be proven.” He used pics she had posted herself of guys she trained with. It was a total hit job on Tony, comparing him unfavorably to Trump in that Melania didn’t “go out of her way” to embarrass Trump by being seen with other men.

    Yes, and Melania also doesn’t train full-time in a male-dominated sport.

    OK, I just Googled “Ottavia cuck” and the article came right up. I’m not posting a link, but you can find it and see for yourself.

  42. bamboo.skewer says:

    A bunch of thoughts …

    Lynn, according to JT LeRoy/Laura in her book, she tells all about AA and yes they slept together. As soon as the movie got made, AA obviously didn’t need Laura any more so she dumped Laura. How? Laura, AA and a male actor in the movie (I forget his name) shared a suite in a hotel room. Instead of sleeping with Laura, AA chose to go sleep with the actor. Ouch. How about hearing your lover fuck someone else in the same hotel suite? Painful. Intentional. Inflict maximum psychological damage. Seems to be a pattern with AA, yes?

    Anyway, because of stories like this and our imagination to fill in the blanks about how AA treated Tony (maybe she felt in early June she didn’t need him any more?) of course we fans WANT TO KNOW. This leads to my second thought …

    I’m a person who tries to see all sides. I do often have a side I choose be on. But I try to understand other sides and people’s motivations, and step outside myself to wonder, could I see this a different way? This is why I admire Tony for his West Virginia episode, trying to understand why people could vote for Trump. I will never see Trump as anything other than a malignant narcissist inflicting evil to serve his lust for power over others. But we should not demonize 100% of the people who voted for him. They have their reasons. Many have unfortunately been manipulated. (I exempt from this the racist white supremacist folks. They know what they’re doing.)

    So … I’m trying to put myself in the shoes of the family, friends and colleagues. And understand the silence. Obviously, people have different levels of risk tolerance. Even if they have facts and evidence on their side, if AA sues them because they go public about her, they have to pay to defend themselves. Maybe they don’t want to pay a penny for that. I can’t imagine anything more financially wasteful than paying money to defend oneself against AA. (I don’t know them, I have no idea, I’m just imagining scenarios to try to understand.) Maybe they have low tolerance for being publicly bullied and dragged through the mud by AA. Because she won’t stay quiet against any allegations against her, and she gets shit-dirty about it. We’ve seen that. Maybe they don’t want their names publicly attached to this in our electronic world, forever showing up together with AA. Who can blame them for wanting to stay as far away from her in the electronic world as possible.

    Here’s the thing … Tony’s family, friends and colleagues might already have the answers for themselves. If there were any communications on his phone, email, etc. that they were able to access, they know what went down, at least the electronic trail of it, the last few days. Plus they can fill in the blanks from what ZPZ colleagues said, as they’ve surely heard everything from them.

    So that leaves us fans. And I’m a big fan otherwise why the hell would I spend hours during a beautiful summer on this? But really, do we really have a right to know? We want to know. But do we have any right for his family, friends and colleagues to put themselves at risk (whatever that risk is in their minds) for us to know?

    I don’t think we have that right.

    You might disagree with me. But I don’t think we have that right. I think we’re human, and human beings don’t like unanswered questions. We don’t like ambiguity. We want justice when people are wronged. But to satisfy our need to know, and our need for justice, I think someone else might pay a price. Is it a price they’re willing to pay? We’ll see some day.

    Having said that, it sure would be nice if CNN would say something. Even if it’s only a few minutes to say a few choice things that lay speculation to rest. I LOVE your open letter, Karen, I hope CNN sees it. If CNN can stand its ground against all the Trump lovers — cuz you know CNN surely hears from them — then AA’s army would be like a bunch of dandelion fluff. Annoying, but brush them off and move on. They can’t do any harm to CNN. I don’t think CNN would pay a price.

    Oh one more thing … I don’t think Tony’s family owed anything to anyone regarding Tony’s funeral or memorial. Yes some celebrity funerals are big circuses. Those are the celebrities who want the circus that goes with the fame. Tony doesn’t seem like he was one of those celebrities. So why should his memorial be anything more than what it was? Again, why would us fans deserve that? I think it’s a family matter, even if you’re famous, and family matters should be private matters. Every family of a famous person has a choice in how to deal with death and funerals and memorials, and I respect their choice to keep it small and quiet.

  43. bamboo.skewer says:

    Also I agree that CNN, with all its sensationalist type writing about Trump, is not covering all the policies being changed by the Trump administration that will affect not just our own society but the whole planet for generations to come.

    CNN, blow the lid off this stuff, PLEASE!

    A smaller number of us have sources to learn. But we need more mainstream media focus on what’s going on behind scenes in the federal agencies. I worked with federal agencies in my previous career. Each administration affects them deeply. It affects us in ways the public doesn’t understand. It affects us financially, our health, our safety. People die because of federal gov’t policies and intentional inaction. There are deliberate attempts to stack decision-making committees with scientists who have been bought and sold by corporations. There are deliberate attempts to obfuscate facts and truth not just with what Trump says, but what federal agencies do. It’s always been this way. People have no idea how deep it runs. Having said that, I have in the past interviewed for federal positions (I will not now) and I have the strongest admiration for many career men and women I knew who are doing good work. Their hearts truly are in their careers to make the U.S. and the world a better place. I don’t mean to demonize the entire federal gov’t. But, beware. Always, buyer beware.

    In a world run by corporations, we NEED the balance of a government that’s there to safeguard the citizens and our financial well-being and health and safety. What happened to of the people, for the people. Government is supposed to be there to operate necessary functions where there is little profit to be made. This is getting all twisted around by corporations. Now it’s become, government is there to serve and protect corporate interests. It was not supposed to be that way. Trump is taking us further in that direction. All I can say is, don’t be fooled by a great economy right now, if you’re among those benefitting from it. Be like squirrels. Save your nuts in a safe place for a coming winter.

  44. catsworking says:

    Bamboo, I agree that fans don’t have a “right” to know anything, but we do have a right to ask questions to see if there are answers.

    I feel a bit unsettled not knowing how Tony was laid to rest, but I think it’s more a cultural thing. I’ve got an uncle who died and was cremated some years ago and his ashes sat in his dining room until his wife sold the house and moved. To this day, I have no idea what she did with his ashes, and he was my favorite uncle. I haven’t asked her.

    So I don’t feel like I have a right to ask about Tony’s final rest, but since he was such a presence, it feels weird.

    There were many others besides the family, crew, and CNN involved in some way with his death. I feel sure that things will eventually come to light when enough time has passed, maybe from unexpected places.

  45. I mentioned this elsewhere, but I’ve lost my`grandmother, mother, father, mother’s best friend and 3 cats over the course of 5 years. Bourdain threw me. I *can’t* get over it. I miss him like a husband. Yes, it`s crazy. Eh, maybe it’s an accumulation of bad events and Bourdain was the last straw.

  46. Anita says:

    Hob Bulge, ( and please explain that name) I know what you mean. I was with my mother at age 18 when Elvis died. I didn’t get why she could cry over someone she never met but it crushed her. How lucky am I to have a mother who loved Elvis?

    But I did get it when John Lennon was murdered. Crushed like I couldn’t believe. Still have some issues hearing his voice but I can get through it.

    Next celebrity death was Robin Williams. I lived in Marin County then and taught real estate software and knew many of his neighbors. The news 24/7 in that area was about his death for months. Haven’t seen a Robin Williams movie since.

    And now Anthony Bourdain. I am re-watching the Venice episode right now because we are going there next year and YES I will be at that Burano restaurant eating the risotto. I haven’t quite healed since June 8 and don’t know when I will but this time I am forcing myself to watch and listen and just be grateful for him coming into our lives. I guess that’s all we can do.

  47. Fran Davies says:

    For goodness sake, why can’t everyone just leave it alone, there’s no conspiracy there and he decided he wanted out. End of story. Have some decorum and respect his memory and let him and his nearest in peace. Nobody has the right to ‘demand’ answers unless related to him or loved by him, they probably are already aware of the ins and out of his last days/suicide and choose not to share with the whole world.

  48. RD says:


    Have you seen the breaking news about AA? Steer your browsers to the NYT right now.

  49. Morganlf says:

    I’ll just leave this here and leave it to Karen it’s worse than we expected, Bourdain knew:

  50. mrc551 says:

    The Japanese are very respectful re: cremated remains. They set up a dedicated space in the home for remains (in tasteful containers) that includes photos of the departed, incense, candles etc. This insures that the departed will always remain in the day-to-day of family life and activity. I can relate to the tale of your uncles remains. My mother was executor of one of her friend’s estate. She stored his ashes in the basement where they sat for many years. I only discovered them after helping with cleaning & downsizing after my father had a stroke. I was never a fan of her “friend” but thought it was very disrespectful to confine his ashes to the basement. Why didn’t she just scatter them across the earth? Jeez.

  51. Juan says:


    The Eddie “Wolverine” Cummings relationship is nothing new, at least not in the bjj community. Not sure if anybody remembers, but before he went public about Asia, there were plenty of pictures of Ottavia and Eddie together at the family summer vacation. She was also traveling with Eddie to his bjj fights. I thought it was weird then, I don’t think she was unfaithful. At this point, who cares, like you said in your post, she was basically living as a single mother. It’s a lot to ask of somebody to stick around, or be faithful, when all he had to offer was financial stability, but nothing else. I can’t imagine anybody in her shoes, as young as she was, would have been able to keep the relationship together as long as she did. You can look thru her Twitter account and check thru the media, you will see what I am talking about. No judgement on my part. She seems like a classy woman and I wish nothing but the best for her and her little girl.

    About AA……it couldn’t happen to a more deserving person.

    Did AB know about this? Not sure. Tough to say. Maybe it was brought to his attention. Maybe this was just one of many things they argued about. Either way, humiliation was all he had coming his way after her ordeal with Hugo and then this bombshell. He spent so much energy trying to tell the world that she was special, only to find out she was everything but that.



  52. mrc551 says:

    Morgan, wow! You just dropped a bomb!

    Yes! Yes! He knew!
    He absolutely knew he had made a terrible and seriously horrific error in trusting her! I’ve said this all along…Tony’s participation in defense of AA re: her activism in this whole HW & #metoo stuff had come bearing down on him! Damn her to hell!!!

  53. Rachel says:

    I saw the NYTimes article and my immediate thought was..AA is finished. Her Instagram is filling up with comments accusing her of being a fraud and a pedophile. Rose won’t be writing letters defendi ng her. X-Factor will drop her…and everything about her relationship with AB is going to come out now. No one comes back from being accused of being a pedophile. Kevin Spacey comes to mind. Karma is here and it is as ugly as all the anonymous posters were saying. By the way, of course AB knew. He and AA had the same lawyer, for crying out loud. He probably helped her with the settlement money she had to pay this boy.

  54. Morganlf says:

    Maggie my phone blew up at 9:30 on a Sunday night. A friend who is a writer and knows of my connection to Bourdain texted me.
    First order of business was to let Karen know. Then I hit up JFT and Orange Janitor who posted immediately.

    This is all the darkness we knew was lurking..child predator…BOOM!

    Rachel Of course Tony knew …she used his lawyer and his money to pay off her accuser.

    We can put to bed why the family hasn’t spoken out yet. This is a legal issue. They were gagged, by the pending litigation.

    This ain’t the last of it.

  55. Polly says:

    The New York Times reports that Argento’s late boyfriend, Anthony Bourdain — who died of suicide on June 8 — “helped Ms. Argento navigate the matter,” though additional details were not available.

    Very ugly. My heart goes out to Ottavia and Ariane.

  56. Lynn says:

    Happy as a clam that she’s toast, but …

    “Mr. Bourdain helped Ms. Argento navigate the matter.”

    If this is true, it’s very disturbing. Tony helped this woman ‘navigate’ the aftermath of sex with an underage boy. So…what? She told him it was ‘consensual’ and ‘blackmail’? That the boy came onto HER? Jesus. I can’t believe her hold on him was this hypnotic that he’d not only stay with her after learning of this but help her legally and financially. wtf

    “The documents, which were sent to The New York Times through encrypted email by an unidentified party.”

    Wonder who the leaker is? And why this kid never went to the police.

    Think CNN will cover THIS? Doubt it.

  57. The leaker would be someone from the HW camp.

  58. Lynn, no doubt…she told him it was consensual. After all…she is an actress. She probably gave him the performance of her lifetime. I am just heart broken for him as he did not recognize, and could not identify his “love” as a someone with a personality disorder.

  59. Morganlf says:

    Don’t matter now, the Times has it. If trump doesn’t hog the air …(which he will), the media can run with it.

    Won’t CNN have an obligation?

    That Bourdain knew of this, paid for this, supplied his lawyer for this, hurts my soul.

    I’m all in with Ottavia and Ariane. This was a gut punch on top of a crippling loss.


    …and you will…..smiley faces to eternity..

  60. Lynn says:

    “Won’t CNN have an obligation?”

    CNN doesn’t seem to have an obligation or desire to cover any news (unless Trump’s twitter feuds with celebs count), so why start now? Some on social media are already defending her saying victims often become abusers, but her haters greatly outweigh them.

    Morgan, you mentioned pending litigation as the reason Tony’s peeps have stayed quiet but what litigation? Didn’t the article say Ashtray’s agreement prevents Jimmy from suing?

  61. Lynn, maybe there’s litigation against Argento from his estate/family? This tweet sums up my feelings re: the situation.

    Anita, my name comes from a silly Hobbit name generator.

  62. bamboo.skewer says:

    Oh no. Wow. What the hell kind of hold can she have over him?

    This is not like they had a 25-year relationship, had children together, saw all the good and bad of each other, he decides to support her through anything because they’ve spent an adult lifetime together.

    Limited online descriptions of their relationship point to a tumultuous one, enough to break up several times over 2 years or less. But yet, we keep learning more about the deep level of support he gave her.

    I’m glad in this case that encrypted anonymous emails to the NYT are possible. Ronan Farrow might be up all night with messages.

  63. CC says:

    I can’t wait to read what you are going to say about news of Asia Argento’s U$380.000 pay off to the boy actor. So Bourdain knew about it!!!

  64. Laura N. says:

    Wow, wow, wow!! Just now seeing the Asia Argento news. That disgusting film depicting child rape she directed, along with her molesting a dog of course, has always been a red flag and one of the main reasons I could not stand this woman. So to know that she would then go on to have sexual relations with that boy is stomach churning. If she were a male director, this would be front page news.

    I simply don’t know what AB was thinking. Of course he helped pay off the kid. Asia’s just a “single mother on the outskirts of Rome”, right? SMH. I’m going to assume she told him the kid was lying and he believed it at the time. No way would he knowingly protect a predator over a 17 year old. No way.

  65. Donna Pavone says:

    I see someone beat me to it!

  66. Donna Pavone says:

    “Ashtray “! Love it!

  67. Mira says:

    Till now, I thought of her as trashy, but actually felt a bit sorry for her.
    But this is beyond disgusting, and if there was any shred of doubt why Bourdain would have his soul destroyed in this sick relationship, now there can not be any doubt.
    I still feel he was in complete denial and would swallow any lie she served him, and see others as trying to ruin her reputation…it is also more clear why his demeanour became more and more, I just can’t find a word…other than the feeling of his soul being destroyed.
    I feel like I need a radioactive decontamination shower after reading that stuff.
    Ugliness, sheer ugliness.

  68. mrc551 says:

    What I would ask everyone to remember is that Argento is,more than anything else, an ACTRESS!

    Imagine this…Tony’s lawyer gets a letter from Bennets lawyer. BOOM! She is outed. Now comes the performance of her lifetime!

    Tony is already deeply entrenched with this woman…he’s even thinking about living in Italy…making a life with her. Does he bail on her? No, he does not. But it is a fatal error of judgement and his inability to recognize her as someone with a PERSONALITY DISORDER derails him.

    She convinced him that she had done nothing wrong–that is what actresses do.

    I do not believe, and will never believe that he knowingly helped her “navigate” a criminal wrongdoing. It doesn’t surprise us that AA would engage an underage male in sexual activity. She has been hyper-sexualized from a very young age, herself.

    Anyone with eyeballs could look at her social media–before she cleaned it up–and see that AA’s life-pattern was a dysfunctional, endless preoccupation and pursuit of casual sex, and objectifying her sex partners. Jeez. The fact that Tony–who was blessed with a brilliant mind–could not “see” that is what causes pain to my soul.

    Fuck you, Argento!!

  69. Dingobeast says:

    What a disgusting slag Argento is! She obviously kept poor Tony around to milk for cash while she was screwing whatever young thing to cross her path, apparently up to and including children and dogs. My instinct is that there was legal stuff brewing, this is one piece of it, I think we are going to see more. Remember that legal issues proceed slowly. She is as much a predator as HW. How ironic.

    I feel so sorry for Tony, how did that foul Asshat have a supposedly successful career(LOL) yet not have any money for her own bills? I am sure she has plenty of her own cash, and just preferred to leech off of whatever old man she was playing that day. He tried so hard to suck up to her in ways that induce intense cringing for how abject he was, meanwhile she was laughing all the way to the bank as she spins another sob story. Now we know why the guy had barely any cash when he died.

  70. catsworking says:

    Morgan, before I came online this morning, I happened to see something about this on my iPad. Yes, it is totally worse than we knew, insofar as Bourdain KNEW what a hypocrite she was and yet praised her to the high heavens for her strength, blah, blah. Set her up with his attorney. And God only knows how much of the settlement came out of his pocket.

    Now I’m thinking he had abso-freaking-lutely lost his mind.

  71. Laura N. says:

    He was obsessed with the #MeToo movement and portraying Asia as some warrior goddess sent down from heaven to suffer and then save woman kind from the patriarchy. He’d gotten-so bad that I had to stop following him on twitter. Damn near every tweet was either about the magnificent Asia. He was even so far gone that he would play the same game Asia and Rose did and subtly accuse someone of being a predator. He lost his marbles over this woman. And now we find out that she basically groomed a kid, a boy she called her “son” no less, and slept with him. And he helped her “navigate” it behind the scenes. This puts his suicide in a whole new light IMO. I think she told him it was all a lie, probably suggested it was created by Weinstein to shut her up and I think he totally believed her. And when everything came crashing down in Colmar, I think it was this situation, not the Hugo affair, that drove him to despair. I think he finally admitted to himself that he, Mr. MeToo,had put his name on the line for a predator and couldn’t deal with the guilt and humiliation.

  72. catsworking says:

    Juan, I haven’t known the full extent of Ottavia’s relationship with Eddie but, yes, their closeness does seem odd. But if she was doing it right under Tony’s and her daughter’s noses, I’d say it hadn’t taken a sexual turn yet.

    The NYT article lays out clearly that Tony DID know about the Jimmy Bennett situation. He hooked AA up with his own lawyer. Had he not died, this would have been a double-whammy of humiliation for him and undoubtedly been a big blow to his own reputation and cred. He was out there championing a woman whom he KNEW was a pedophile, raping a kid who considered her a mother figure (not getting into Bennett’s taste in moms, but whatever).

  73. MJ says:

    Call my a cynic (work in the legal profession will do that) but when I read the NYT article this morning I assumed that the settlement cash came from AB. I wish that none of it had, but she had her hooks in him pretty deeply and I don’t think that her iffy acting career would have been that lucrative. Though maybe dark forces help one to earn $$ on the side, who knows…

    I still love a lot of his work but WHY TONY, WHY did you move from a life that could have been healthy, with a family, to Drugstore Cowboying Part 2 with AA. You fool.

  74. catsworking says:

    Lynn and Miss Maggie, no doubt AA twisted the tale to put herself in the best light with Tony. I simply can’t wrap my head around the fact that he would have known about this and STILL put himself out there praising her for her courage in going after Weinstein for doing LESS to her than she did to that boy.

    Even Rose McGowan has a case of the icks over it.

    As for the leaker, it could be a Weinstein associate, but how would they have gotten their hands on the documents? My guess would be someone associated with Bourdain. HIS lawyer was representing AA in this.

    Maybe this is their way of getting the truth about her out.

  75. catsworking says:

    Morgan, CNN may have fingers stuck in its ears on this part of the story, but you’re right. It’s out there everywhere else. It’s a HUGE blow to the #MeToo movement. But on the bright side, I’d guess AA’s role as leader is toast, and she’d do well to keep her fucking mouth shut about any of this stuff from now on.

    Rose has even realized AA is now toxic.

    Once again, AA parallels Trump. This may be a situation where someone is trying to “follow the money.” Did AA lie to Tony about the situation to get him to shell out the $380K payoff? Wouldn’t that be fraud of some sort?

    I can hardly wait to see if the Geriatric Genius has some choice words about this turn of events. At this moment, my brain is reeling for a coherent thought.

  76. catsworking says:

    Laura, I didn’t realize that movie she based on the JT Leroy story had a child rape in it. Every time I learn something new about AA, it just get more depraved. This development is, as you say, “stomach churning.”

    It almost makes me thankful Bourdain isn’t around to be forced to deal with this mess. I agree with you that AA must have convinced him she wasn’t the predator. Even if he was thinking with his dick, he wouldn’t participate in a pedophile’s cover-up.

  77. catsworking says:

    MJ, I’m with you. I firmly believe the payoff was Bourdain’s money. AA said in an interview that she preferred to live paycheck to paycheck, taking one good job and living off the proceeds until she was forced to work again. Tony’s willingness to “help her out” probably came into play here.

    And the ultimate realization that he had been championing a female Weinstein may have been the final straw. AA basically blew his integrity to hell to save herself.

  78. Adele Prass says:

    I can’t add anything to what’s been said, but I was gobsmacked last night to see the NYT article. There was a tiny bit about it on MSNBC this morning. I can only guess that by the time Tony’s lawyer was helping AA “navigate” the payment (hush money), Tony had created such a persona for AA that nothing could break through his romantic fantasy — and it just got worse with every passing month. Sad, sad, sad.

  79. Anita says:

    MSNBC just did a much longer piece on this and showed pictures of Jimmy when AA worked with him. He was a child when they did that movie! This is sicko Woody Allen territory.

    It does seem this past entire Parts Unknown season AB was haunted by something. There was definitely something wrong with him. I thought he had cancer and wasn’t telling anyone. He did have cancer and the name was Asia Argento.

  80. Isabel Horvath says:

    Been off of here for a while. Just catching up to Asia’s mess.


    She’s done. Toast. Go away and rot.

  81. Dianna says:

    Maybe that’s why AB poured it on so thick on his Instagram about her especially with the Hong Kong shoot. Trying to convince himself and the world she was all he originally thought. He backed himself into quite an awful corner.

  82. Lynn says:

    Agree with all that’s been said, especially that his ‘cancer’ was Ashtray. Well put, Anita. And Karen I’m with you that I think the leaker is someone on AB’s side.

    “Maybe there’s litigation against Argento from his estate/family”

    I certainly hope so. Anyone know legally what their options would be beyond emotional distress – fraud? It seems clear AB was addicted to this woman like he was to heroin back in the day. No amount of fact, logic or evidence was going to tear him away. He was like a Trump cultist – she could shoot someone in the middle of 5th Ave. and not lose AB’s support.

    I’m sure she cried and acted her ass off, telling Tony that 1. it was consensual and 2. she didn’t realize the kid was not 18 at the time. Sure, some young men under 18 pursue and bed older women, fully consensual, but the law still sees it as a crime. Tony would have known (as the lawyers did) that at the time of the incident, the boy was 17. That’s easily proven.

    So at best Tony helped her with full knowledge that she broke the law even if he bought that she didn’t realize it at the time. And so hypocritical of AB that this was apparently okay if the accused is female. In his mind, EVERY man, woman and underage boy was hot for AA, since he saw her as the greatest, sexiest most genius goddess on earth. Naturally he’d buy her story that Jimmy wanted and even pursued her.

    When I heard Ashtray’s ‘sexy’ attempt at a whisper on the phone to ‘JT’ in that documentary, I understood how she operates. Gullible, sensitive and/or self destructive people would be easily taken in by it. Her voice dripped with a type of hypnotic temptation, like the snake in the garden of Eden. I imagined her using this voice on Tony. Sad that with all he saw and how smart he was, a wise 61 yrs old, he still fell for it.

    BTW what is the statute of limitations on prosecuting her? I forget which country the sex with Jimmy happened in, but could she be arrested?

  83. Laura N. says:

    He looked terrible in the last 18 months of his life. The very definition of weathered. He went from someone who had always looked younger than his age to looking a good decade older than he was. When he was with Ottavia and doing the family man thing, he was practically rosey cheeked! By the end of it all, he looked like a man in his early 70s. And the change in his looks didn’t start until Asia came into his life. Something was going on, in my humble opinion, even though the autopsy says he was healthy.

  84. catsworking says:

    Anita, now I’m wondering if this secret wasn’t eating at him, but he’d dug the hole so deep already with all this effusive praise for Argento and what a brave woman she was for fighting back against Weinstein, he couldn’t just go silent without questions being asked. She basically painted him into a corner.

  85. catsworking says:

    Lynn, I just laid it all out. My head was boinging off the walls, so I just tried to put all the pertinent facts in order.

    They were in California and it was only five years ago, so I’m thinking charges could still be brought if he wanted to press them, but he can’t sue her for anything else. I’m guessing it’s all in the way she handles herself going forward what Jimmy may do next.

    Her rants about Harvey Weinstein are what set him off in the first place, apparently. If she goes off on how she’s being made the victim here, it could get ugly.

    Rose McGowan may have started making things worse with her tweet, which I captured. I don’t see any way to turn the tables on this and make AA come out ahead.

    As Isabel said, BOOM! Let’s hope the people in the #MeToo movement finish what the media has now started and make AA persona non grata on both sides of the Atlantic.

  86. catsworking says:

    Laura, as far as I know, there was no autopsy. They just did blood and urine samples and found nothing suspicious.

    But I totally agree with you that he aged fast after AA entered the scene. I wonder if she’s got any other skeletons in her closet that could have been weighing on him?

    What mystifies me is why he didn’t run for the hills when the true shittiness of her nature started coming out. He could have Googled her and found more than ample reason to steer clear. People have said they broke up several times. Why, oh, why didn’t he just say NO? He’d probably be in the Hamptons right now, enjoying some R&R.

  87. Anita says:

    Karen, I think you mentioned this in one of your earlier posts. AB was so enthralled with her father and his movies that he completely overlooked everything about AA that was right in front of his eyes. I wonder how she came about being in that Rome episode. Did AB seek her out for that show? I would assume those productions are a year if not longer in the works.

  88. catsworking says:

    Anita, I think when there are visas and various permissions involved, there’s a long lead time. He used to say it took him years to get into Cuba. But for an episode like Rome, which he’d done before, I think it was probably several months. I don’t know who contacted who, but since we’ve now remembered that he mentioned knowing of AA as far back as 2006, he knew of her and it was probably his idea to include her or maybe even her father. She wouldn’t have known he was planning to film in Italy before they met.

  89. Lynn says:

    I remember Tony saying he started following Ashtray-ia on Twitter and was blown away by her vast encyclopedic knowledge of film, music etc. They started communicating on Twitter. I believe he said he asked her to be in the episode, but pushy as she is she may have suggested it to him. She suggested most of the things we see in the episode including the boxing place where you can eat ringside. I can’t find the interview.

  90. Kat19 says:

    I don’t believe AB knew the extent of what was going on with the settlement. There would have been attorney / client privilege so his attorney could not reveal to him the details of the case. I’m sure she downplayed everything and perhaps he finally started to catch on closer to the time of his death.

    Perhaps the pictures of her and Hugo was an Ah Ha moment when he realized she really did have an affinity for young boys and it triggered something in him. This may be the moment he realized he truly had been played and had been standing up for a child predator all this time. It would have been The ultimate humiliation

    I also think the leaks would have come from the Bourdain family. Document could have come from AB’s devices. Perhaps they wanted this out so Jimmy could get the true justice he deserves through criminal courts. It was also a way for the world to see the truth.

  91. Anita says:

    Karen and Lynn thank you for the info. It’s so funny reflecting back on that episode, I remember the first time it ran I thought it was a big disappointment. I didn’t know who AA was (or care) and the whole show seemed focused around her. Duh. Of course it was! A narcissist makes everything about them. Well, I’m certain she is having a pretty bad day today. As my southern mother would say, her chickens have come home to roost. Cock-a-doodle-doo.

  92. catsworking says:

    Welcome, Kat19. I think your theory is very plausible. And you’re right about attorney/client privilege, unless maybe Bourdain was the one putting up the money. Wouldn’t he have had to be told (wanted to know) what it was for? AA may have quickly hired her own attorney precisely to keep Tony from finding out too much, and then lied to him about what it was really about. I believe the payout came through her lawyer.

  93. catsworking says:

    Anita, she is probably wallowing in the glory of being the victim yet again. “Somebody” leaked documents to “ruin her life.” Again.

    And before the day is over, we see that X Factor is considering whether to fire her and the LA Sheriff wants to investigate the rape. Oh, and the #MeToo founder, Tarana Burke, is distancing herself and trying to keep the whole movement from being discredited.

    Like I’ve said before, the parallels to Trump are uncanny. Anyone who crosses AA’s path gets destroyed as well.

  94. Kat19 says:

    Karen, I believe it does not matter who is footing the bill, what is said between attorney and client remains confidential. I doubt he was included in the meetings. She could have been telling AB anything. She was being harassed or accused of some misconduct while proclaiming her innocence and playing the victim. Maybe as time went on she revealed more.

  95. catsworking says:

    Kat19, yes, that sounds right. It also meshes with him not being put in a position to cover for a predator. Mario Batali had been his friend for many years yet he did a complete 180 and told Batali to retire and go away when Batali got outed as a pig.

    Yet even after this intent to sue showed up, he continued to heap lavish praise on AA for her #MeToo activism. If he knew, he could have at least dialed it back if he didn’t want to make a complete break.

    Maybe he learned the whole truth from her (flung in his face for spite) in their last conversation and the totality of its effect on him hit home.

  96. Karen, something seems interesting to me re: the sum of the pay-off money. The agreed amount was 380K- right? Reportedly, 200K has been paid, to date…that means there is a balance of 180K. Perhaps that is where the legal issue is swirling and why Bourdains camp has been silent.

    The NYT article specifically states “subsequent arrangement for payments are laid out in documents between lawyers for Ms. Argento and Mr. Bennett. So she had a payment plan. And I’ll betcha she doesn’t have anything remotely close to the balance of 180K

    Perhaps Argento was attempting to sue Bourdains estate for the balance? Bennett was “not permitted to bother her for more money, or sue her as long as she complied with the agreement”

    I hope AB did not sign anything making him a party to the contract. Such a nightmare–and to think he volunteered for all of it!

  97. Lynn says:

    If Tony knew nothing or very little, what does the Times mean by Tony helped her ‘navigate’ this? I also can’t believe she paid Jimmy the first $200k out of her own pocket. I don’t think she has that kind of cash.

    Maggie – I was thinking the same thing. Maybe she’s claiming there was a verbal agreement with AB to give her the entire $380k (or god forbid, a written one), but perhaps as you said he hadn’t yet forked over the $180k balance. And if she lied to him about the reason for needing the money, his family could certainly sue her for that. They may be suing Ashtray to prevent the balance from going to her. OR if he already gave it to her under false pretenses, they could be suing to get it back.

  98. Anita says:

    What a mess! I just saw this story from Mercury News and hoping the link works. AB had to have known since the original letter went to his lawyer. And likely was footing the bill too.

    I have a feeling this is just the beginning of the shit about to hit the proverbial fan for AA.

  99. You may be on to something Miss Maggie. From this Vice article:

    “Argento makes a $200,000 payment to Bennett, with an agreement to pay another $180,000 by the end of 2019. The Times reports “Mr. Bourdain helped Ms. Argento navigate the matter.”

    Also, “July, 2018: Argento likes a selfie Bennett posted on Instagram, the Times reports.” Just, wow.

  100. catsworking says:

    Lynn, to me, the reference to him “navigating” implicates the payment. What else could it be? There were lawyers advising her on the legal aspect.

    And it could be that she’s up shit’s creek now that he’s not around to fork over the remaining $180K and Ottavia, as executor, is saying “No fucking way.”

  101. catsworking says:

    Basically, all the articles published today are just repeating each other and lifting from the NYT piece. The Vice article does at least give a more fleshed-out timeline of interactions between AA and Bennett, but that doesn’t really add anything to what we already know.

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