After a slew of women came forward to accuse producer Harvey Weinstein and other notable figures in media of sexual harassment, CNN’s Anthony Bourdain expressed regret for his participation in and validation of a culture he sees as similarly sexist: the restaurant industry.
In an interview Thursday with Poppy Harlow on CNN’s “New Day,” Bourdain – whose girlfriend, Asia Argento, is among Weinstein’s accusers – explained that he had “spent nearly 30 years in the restaurant industry, an industry and a culture that has been pervasively hostile to women.”
“In my first book, ‘Kitchen Confidential,’ which basically made my career … I was so proud of having survived that I romanticized that culture. I celebrated it in a way that I think – unintentionally – validated the sort of work instincts of ‘meathead bro’ culture and certainly did not help women’s situation,” the “Parts Unknown” host said.
Despite his own introspection about sexist culture, Bourdain doesn’t have faith that other men will feel the same way.
“I think, unfortunately, it’s unrealistic to expect people who have been in the business a long time – men, in particular – to change their hearts and minds.”
When Harlow pressed him on that, he conceded, “I’m not that optimistic about the human race.”
What Bourdain does believe will change is the likelihood of people coming forward to identify instances of coercion and harassment they see in the workplace.
“To stay silent has a real cost,” Bourdain said. “You will be called to account for that. You will be asked what you did when you saw this. Whether you have a good heart or not, I think the reality of the situation in this rapidly changing field is that people will be forced to do the right thing.”