Friday, June 8, 2018

Tribute to Anthony Bourdain (1956-2018)

Yashar Ali 🐘‏Verified account @yashar

1. My heart is broken. Anthony Bourdain was so good to me and a big reason I'm still doing what I'm doing. In January I fell into a deep depression for the first time in my life. Having never dealt with it in the past, I was unprepared. Tony helped me save myself 1 text at a time.

2. Tony was such a righteous man. He loved @AsiaArgento so much..he was so happy that Weinstein had been taken down. But he wasn't satisfied with that. He wanted more justice for women who had been targeted by bad men and he wanted the survivors to feel supported.

3. For example, earlier this year when @rosemcgowan was being criticized publicly during her book tour he texted me at 3 AM and told me we needed to make sure she felt publicly supported "this is turning into a win for HW," he said.

4. While many people, including reporters, had moved on from the Weinstein saga he wanted to make sure there was justice. He texted me repeatedly with ideas and every time a Weinstein survivor was attacked he would let me know because he was determined to stop Harvey's machine.

5. When Tony got a tip that Harvey had been seen in Gstaad he told me I had to chase it down. It was an order and I was happy to accept the challenge. It turned out to be a bad tip but he wasn't going to let Harvey win. "That motherfucker is gonna skate.." he said to me.

6. One night in early February he was signaling me with restaurant suggestions and I told him I was dealing with depression for the first time and wanted to give up on work. "Maybe I'm not meant to do this," I said. What he said next I'm going to keep private but for the past

7. few months he has made me feel like a million bucks. He made me feel like I had an obligation to keep going..and when I shared some career news with him while I was still grappling with depression he was happier for me than I was for myself.

8. Tony hated bullshit and he hated the glitz and glamour of the media business (as many of you could tell by watching his show). When Vogue published a puff piece that I was deeply critical of he texted me and said...

9. "Good. They were loathsome to begin with. Just continuing a tradition of rape apologia & enabling." In my experience, there was no middle of the road with Tony - either he hated something or he absolutely loved it. He felt a serious sense of responsibility to expose the truth.

10. Forgive me for rambling...I'm trying to write this while I'm sitting outside crying and trying to catch my breath. Tony was so so proud of @AsiaArgento. Since Asia lives in Rome, I missed some of her press appearances and speeches..Anthony would always send them to me

11. And even though he knew I was friends with Asia and would do anything for her, he would still ask me every time to share what he had sent...he just wanted to be sure. He was so proud of her and as he mentioned in a piece just last week..he felt she was a peer.

12. Tony was also so proud of @RonanFarrow - almost every time Ronan was honored, Tony would signal me to share the Tony was a great friend..but if he didn't like you, you would know it. He was also determined, like Ronan, to expose the system that enabled Weinstein.

13. I'm so sad this morning..but I really get it now when people say things like "he would have wanted me to keep working." I have to keep working. A few weeks ago a friend told me they delete all their texts and emails. Not to keep things private - they just hate digital clutter

14. I told them I thought that was silly because I often go back to texts from friends and read them again. I'm so glad I have a treasure trove of texts from Tony. I can look at them when I'm having a hard day...I just sent him a text message even though he's gone on ahead of us.

15/15 "Thank you for everything you did for me and so many others. I will think of you always." iMessage says the text was delivered.

16. Thank you for always being so thoughtful Tony.

Who is Yashar? 

In an industry fascinated by unexpected newcomers, reporters and editors have been left wondering just who Yashar Ali — his middle, not last name — really is. 
Yashar says the pen name is meant to protect his family, but in practice, it also obscures his previous career: a major fundraiser for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign and an aide to former San Francisco mayor and current California lieutenant governor Gavin Newsom. Now, he says, he is focusing on reporting — and says he didn’t vote in the 2016 election. Yashar is far from the first person to ditch politics for a media career, but the transition can be a fraught endeavor. 
Since the election, Yashar has broken all kinds of stories at the intersection of politics, media, and entertainment. For New York magazine, he reported per three sources present that George W. Bush remarked that Trump’s inaugural address was “some weird shit.” For HuffPost, he reported that Eric Bolling allegedly sent graphic pictures to female colleagues at Fox News. (Bolling has denied the claims and is suing Yashar.) In a detailed report earlier this month, Yashar and HuffPost editor-in-chief Lydia Polgreen dove into how NBC executives spiked Ronan Farrow’s Harvey Weinstein story, and he was the one who first interviewed Lauren Sivan, who alleged that Weinstein trapped her in the hallway of a restaurant, masturbated in front of her, and ejaculated into a potted plant. Yashar landed an interview with Kathy Griffin months after a photograph of her holding a faux Donald Trump head covered in fake blood ignited controversy. 
And he’s broken news on his Twitter feed, too, like when he tweeted, per a source in the Los Angeles FBI field office, that James Comey learned of his firing by seeing it on TV. (A New York Times reporter tweeted the same tidbit 14 minutes later.)
“Yashar gets a lot of benefit of the doubt from people who wouldn't give reporters the benefit of the doubt, and I think he still handles the information like a journalist,” said one political reporter who knows him. “Normally I object to people playing journalist, but I think he's taken the time. He gets it.”
People close to the 37-year-old describe him as a driven, wealthy Renaissance man who gets obsessed with various topics and finds a way to succeed at them — and they aren’t surprised that his new interest happens to be journalism. Other Democratic officials are dumbfounded by Yashar’s career change, and they wonder how someone could develop sources in the entertainment, media, and intelligence communities seemingly overnight (though Yashar’s reporting largely hasn’t been disputed). His background also hasn’t gone unnoticed by some conservative critics on Twitter, particularly given his reporting on Fox News.

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