Asia Argento appeared to address the upcoming unauthorized Anthony Bourdain biography in an Instagram Story post on September 29. The Italian actor, who had a relationship with Bourdain, shared an image of herself wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with an illustration of bodybuilder Ronnie Coleman superimposed with the phrase “Stop busting my balls,” which could allude to her private text messages published in the new bio, Down and Out in Paradise, by Charles Leerhsen. According to the book, those were the last words she sent to the writer and TV host via text. Excerpts of their last exchange are given on the first page of the book: “Is there anything I can do?” Bourdain texted Argento before he died by suicide in June 2018. “Stop busting my balls,” Argento responded, to which he replied, “Okay.” He was found dead in his hotel room the next morning in Kaysersberg, France, where he was filming his travel-and-food show Parts Unknown. Despite Argento’s telling Leerhsen to refrain from publishing anything she said to him, per the New York Times, she repeatedly appears in the book.
The forthcoming biography has drawn criticism from Bourdain’s friends and family for its intimate look into his life. His inner circle last participated in the documentary Roadrunner and the book Bourdain: The Definitive Oral Biography. Based on more than 80 interviews, plus files, text messages, and emails from his phone and laptop, Leerhsen’s book chronicles Bourdain’s life from his childhood in New Jersey to his untimely death; Leerhsen even stayed in the same hotel room where Bourdain died. “Every single thing he writes about relationships and interactions within our family as kids and as adults he fabricated or got totally wrong,” Christopher Bourdain, Anthony’s brother, told the New York Times. The publisher refuted any defamation allegations in an email to the newspaper: “With all due respect, we disagree that the material in the Book contains defamatory information, and we stand by our forthcoming publication.”