Anthony Bourdain Book Under Fire For Releasing Final Texts, And The Publisher Has Responded To Criticisms

Anthony Bourdain in Parts Unknown
(Image credit: HBO Max)

The tragic death of Anthony Bourdain was one that stunned the world, and left many wondering what exactly led to his tragic death. Unfortunately, that quest for answers is impacting his loved ones, as a new book being categorized as an unauthorized biography on the chef and TV host will publicize texts from his final days, among a large amount of alleged details about his final details. Some of those who were closest to him are claming not all the details in the work are necessarily accurate, with potential issues over what was allowed to be put into the book. Now, the publisher has responded to those criticisms, sidestepping claims that it contains defamatory information. 

Down and Out in Paradise: The Life of Anthony Bourdain reportedly contains intimate details about the iconic writer and chef's life, as well as messages he sent to his ex-wife and confidante Ottavia Busia-Bourdain, and to his girlfriend, Asia Argento. The New York Times reported that journalist Charles Leerhsen compiled the upcoming book from 80 different interviews, and after utilizing files, texts, and emails from Bourdain’s personal phone and laptop. With that, Leershen intended to put together an account helped add context to what happened near the end of Bourdain's life, and what might have led him to end it in the way he did. 

Ahead of the book’s release, some of Anthony Bourdain’s closest friends and family (who continue to celebrate his life after his death) are speaking out against its release and claiming it contains many inaccuracies. Christopher Bourdain, his brother, sent the publisher Simon & Schuster emails calling the work “defamatory,” and received the following response back: 

With all due respect, we disagree that the material in the book contains defamatory information, and we stand by our forthcoming publication.

As mentioned, the upcoming book details Anthony Bourdain’s intimate conversations with Ottavia Busia-Bourdain as well as his girlfriend he was traveling with when he died, Asia Argento. Most notably, the book allegedly contains the final text exchange between Bourdain and Argento, which happened not long before he hung himself. (CNN temporarily removed episodes featuring Argento after his death.) Obviously, there are some troubling messages displayed in the book, which may be why Bourdain’s family and friends are committed to ensuring the correct details are what's being revealed to the masses. 

It’s noted that while there are critics of Down and Out in Paradise: The Life of Anthony Bourdain, who spoke out against its release, Ottavia Busia-Bourdain hasn’t. It’s also noted that Charles Leerhsen was allegedly able to obtain some of his interviews from various people in Bourdain's life because they were angry about how the television personality left things with his now-15-year-old daughter, Ariane. 

Beyond some alleged details surrounding his death, Down and Out in Paradise: The Life of Anthony Bourdain will also dive into his early years, detailing his relationship with his parents as well as his first wife, Nancy Putkoski. There will also be sections dedicated to his long-spanning career that started in the restaurant industry and, of course, spun into a continuous writing gig, which led to him traveling the world as a television host, and giving viewers an inside look at countries they may not have seen otherwise. 

Down and Out in Paradise: The Life of Anthony Bourdain will be available for purchase on October 11th. Those looking to just experience more of Anthony Bourdain might use their HBO Max subscription to binge Parts Unknown, and reminisce while watching some of the award-winning moments from Bourdain’s life. 

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.