The apparent suicide of chef, television personality, and author Anthony Bourdain came as a shock not only to the everyday fans who knew him from shows such as Parts Unknown or one of the many books he has written, but to famous friends and fans such as Gordon Ramsay, Chrissy Teigen, and many others who felt saddened and surprised by Bourdain’s death at the age of 61. Actor Val Kilmer, however, expressed anger toward Bourdain for his “selfishness,” in a lengthy Facebook post that also speculated on the reasons that might have driven the late chef to take his own life.
In a post shared shortly after news of Bourdain’s death broke, Kilmer talked about how his late friend had given people “cause to be so angry,” stressing how a spiritual guide once described suicide as the “most selfish act” people can commit, and the farthest mental place from the state of humanity.
“So what? I hear you took your life in Paris,” Val Kilmer continued.
“What hotel? Did you relapse? Did you just get home from the best meal of your life? Did you cheat on your girl? Those of us that knew you are shocked and angry for what you just did to us.”
Kilmer went on to comment about how “at least a million” other fans lived vicariously through Bourdain, imagining a scenario where his friend ignored the sound of his phone ringing in his pocket and proceeded to take his own life. The Top Gun actor then referenced his previous battle with throat cancer, rhetorically asking Bourdain if he would have killed himself had he gone through the same medical issues that Kilmer went through two years ago.
“Would you have taken your life two years ago when like me you were unable to take in food and move it with your tongue over your taste buds because your tongue was too swollen?”
Further speculating on the factors that contributed to Anthony Bourdain’s apparent suicide, Val Kilmer made mention of the chef’s father, Pierre Bourdain, and how his “hate” might have been felt by his son even in more recent times, clouding “every last sunny moment of every single damn day.” It isn’t clear what past incidents Kilmer might have been referring to, but Bourdain referred to his parents as “middle class, aspirational, Mad Men-era Democrats who wanted the best for me” in an interview with the Independent in 2011.
In the four hours or so since Val Kilmer called Anthony Bourdain out for his “selfish” actions, many of his Facebook fans have reacted negatively to his statement, with several users accusing the actor of victim-blaming through his use of “selfish” and “suicide” in the same sentence. One user in particular acknowledged that she respects Kilmer for becoming a “warrior” as he recovered from his battle with throat cancer, but opined that his spirit guide was wrong, and that Kilmer was “doing a disservice” to people who may be entertaining suicidal thoughts or battling mental health issues. Another user, however, said that Kilmer has the right to vent his feelings and grieve in the best way he sees fit.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741. For readers outside the U.S., visit Suicide.org or Befrienders Worldwide for international resources you can use to find help.