"Why was I not the sort of person, or why was I not seen as the sort of person, that these women could feel comfortable confiding in?"
Anthony Bourdain is reflecting on how his behavior throughout his long career could have contributed to a culture of sexual harassment in the restaurant industry after New Orleans chef John Besh stepped down from his restaurant group, following a Times-Picayune investigation detailing sexual harassment allegations against him from 25 current and former employees.
Known for his bad-boy personality and gruff opinions pushed forth even more in his book Kitchen Confidential, Bourdain this week attacked the restaurant industry’s “meathead culture” in a tweet. Speaking with Slate this week, Bourdain said he bore some responsibility for the culture and for not being the type of person women can confide in. "I had to ask myself, particularly given some things that I’m hearing, and the people I’m hearing them about: Why was I not the sort of person, or why was I not seen as the sort of person, that these women could feel comfortable confiding in? I see this as a personal failing,” Bourdain told Slate.
Bourdain's comments come after dozens of women, including Bourdain's girlfriend Asia Argento, came forward in recent weeks with accounts of sexual harassment and assault against longtime producer Harvey Weinstein. Argento, who accused Weinstein of rape, has since had to flee Italy after facing pushback for going on the record. Weinstein has said he did not engage in nonconsensual sex.
Seeing the way Argento has been treated since coming forward has given Bourdain an understanding of how hard it is for victims to speak out about sexual misconduct.
“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 said. "That certainly brought it home in a personal way that, to my discredit, it might not have before."