In a letter to The Hollywood Reporter, #MeToo activist and former actress Rose McGowan came to the defense of Asia Argento, an Italian actress who was dating Anthony Bourdain, the beloved chef and TV personality who died by suicide last week.
The letter was called, “An Important Message From Rose McGowan, a Friend: We need to have a conversation about suicide. Blame is not that conversation.”
Argento was one of the many women to come forward with sexual assault allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, and is a friend of McGowan’s.
“She stood up to her monster rapist and now she has to stand up to yet another monster, suicide. The suicide of her beloved lover and ally, Anthony Bourdain,” McGowan wrote in her letter, referring to Argento. “I write these truths because I have been asked to.”
McGowan said people and members of the media have tried to blame Argento since her late-partner’s suicide.
“Many of these people who lost their ‘friend’ are wanting to lash out and blame,” she wrote. “You must not sink to that level. Suicide is a horrible choice, but it is that person’s choice.”
Because suicide leaves so many questions unanswered, it’s not uncommon for blame to be placed after a loved one dies this way. After losing Linkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington to suicide last July, his widow, Talinda Bennington, touched on this topic at the Canadian Event Safety Summit. She shared that some had turned their blame to her after her husband died by suicide.
As much as social media has been a huge support for me, I do every now and then get people blaming me, straight up blaming me — for him dying, for me not saving him, for you know, mistreating him… It is a little stab in the heart, but what I have to remember is it’s not my fault. It’s not my children’s fault, it’s not the band’s fault, it’s nobody’s fault. It’s not Chester’s fault.
In reality, suicide is complicated, and there often isn’t one person or factor to blame. In her letter, McGowan urged readers to take blame out of the conversation, and spend time educating themselves about suicide and depression.
Do NOT do the sexist thing and burn a woman on the pyre of misplaced blame. Anthony’s internal war was his war, but now she’s been left on the battlefield to take the bullets. It is in no way fair or acceptable to blame her or anyone else, not even Anthony. 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, that which can never fully be understood. Sometimes we are stuck in the unknowable, and that is where we are now, a massive wave of darkness that threatens to swallow everyone in its wake.
You can read her full letter here.