Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain is catching hell this week from the Hillary Clinton faithful for criticizing the former secretary of state's Johnny-come-lately response to the Harvey Weinstein sex scandal.
The thing is: He is sort of in the right on this one. Clinton's response to the scandal, which involves a major Democratic donor with whom she is personally friendly, was not only tardy, but it was also the sort of bland, substance-free twaddle you'd expect from a politician. It certainly wasn't what you'd expect from a self-professed women's rights crusader.
The two-time presidential candidate said Wednesday in an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria that she is "appalled" by the allegations brought against Weinstein, which include sexual harassment and assault.
"It was something that was just intolerable in every way," she said. "And, you know, like so many people who've come forward and spoken out, this was a different side of a person who I and many others had known in the past."
She added, "And people who never spoke out before having the courage to speak out, just clearly demonstrates that this behavior that he engaged in, cannot be tolerated and cannot be overlooked."
Weinstein is no lightweight in Democratic circles. He has personally donated roughly $800,000 to Democratic candidates between 1990 and 2016, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. He is believed to have bundled far, far more cash than that for Democrats. Weintein has also hosted numerous star-studded fundraisers for both Clinton and former President Barack Obama.
"People in Democratic politics for a couple of decades appreciated his help and support," Clinton said Wednesday.
She also said this week that she couldn't simply return his money. Instead, Clinton said she'd donate what she could to charity.
"What other people are saying, what my former colleagues are saying, is they're going to donate it to charity, and of course I will do that," she told Zakaria. "I give 10 percent of my income to charity every year, this will be part of that. There's no – there's no doubt about it."
When it comes to the Clintons, it has been more than just business for the disgraced Hollywood mogul. Weinstein is reportedly a close friend of the Clintons. The former first family even rented a home recently near Weinstein in the Hamptons, according to CNN.
This could prove awkward for the Clintons.
See, Weinstein's behavior was reportedly an open secret in the circles in which he ran, which includes entertainment and politics. So much so, in fact, that shows like NBC's "30 Rock" openly referenced his predatory habits. Twice. The comedian Seth McFarlane also referred to Weinstein's abusive nature during the 2012 Oscar nominees announcements. Despite all of this, Clinton maintains she knew nothing about the producer's appetites.
"I certainly didn't, and I don't know who did," she said. "But I can only speak for myself, and I think speak for many others who knew him primarily through politics."
For some, including Bourdain, whose current girlfriend, Asia Argento, claims she was raped by Weinstein, Clinton came across Wednesday evening as less-than-genuine.
"And I have to say, Hillary's interview with Fareed Zakaria was shameful in its deflection and its disingenuousness," Bourdain said on Twitter. "Know what Hillary Clinton is NOT? She's not stupid. Or unsophisticated about the world. The Weinstein stories had been out there for years."
"Secretary Clinton was one of the most intelligent, well prepared, well briefed politicians ever. So, yes. I'd hoped for a better response," he added.
Bourdain, who is definitely no fan of the current administration, explained that his reaction was personal.
"I can assure you that the victims of Mr. Weinstein's three decades of predatory behavior are disappointed too. I'm sitting next to one," Bourdain said, referring to Argento. "This Weinstein story is deeply personal to me — and far far far more personal and painful to people I love and people I care about."
In regard to his claim that Clinton's remarks felt disingenuous, we're inclined to agree.
Remember, the CNN interview came after days of total silence on her part. For a person who ran explicitly on the platform of being an advocate for women, you'd think Clinton would be Johnny-on-the-spot with some commentary on Weinstein's alleged history of sexual predation.
Instead, we got nearly a week of silence and some canned commentary on how this sort of behavior cannot be "tolerated" or "overlooked." Okay, fine. We just expected a bit more than a delayed and subdued response from the candidate whose campaign slogans included "I'm With Her."