Clinton Aides Gang Up on Boyfriend of Harvey Weinstein Accuser

Hillary Clinton looks at a smart phone with national press secretary Brian Fallon / Getty Images
Hillary Clinton and her 2016 campaign's national press secretary, Brian Fallon / Getty Images
October 12, 2017

Current and former aides to Hillary Clinton ganged up on Anthony Bourdain on Twitter after Bourdain criticized Clinton for her delayed response to the sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein.

Clinton received criticism for initially staying silent after the New York Times reported last week that several women have accused Weinstein, the powerful Hollywood producer and Democratic mega-donor, of sexual harassment, assault, and even rape. The New Yorker subsequently published a story detailing how Italian actress Ambra Battilana Gutierrez staged a sting operation with the police, during which she secretly recorded Weinstein admitting he groped her and that he does so to other women often.

Weinstein has donated thousands of dollars to Clinton throughout her political career. He maxed out donations ($5,400) to Clinton's failed 2016 presidential campaign and gave more than $30,000 to the Hillary Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee between Clinton's campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and more than 30 state Democratic parties.

The Hollywood mogul has also given at least $250,000 to the Clinton Foundation.

Five days after the initial Times story broke, amid growing criticism, Clinton released a statement condemning Weinstein.

"I was shocked and appalled by the revelations about Harvey Weinstein," Clinton said in the statement. "The behavior described by women coming forward cannot be tolerated. Their courage and the support of others is critical in helping to stop this kind of behavior."

Clinton then conducted an interview with CNN's Fareed Zakaria, clips of which aired Wednesday night, in which the former presidential candidate said she would re-donate the money she received from Weinstein, but did not specify where it would go.

Bourdain, host of CNN's "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown," criticized Clinton for her tepid response on Wednesday night.

The Weinstein controversy is personal for Bourdain. He is dating Italian actress and director Asia Argento, one of Weinstein's alleged victims.

Clinton aides quickly came to their current or former boss's defense. Clinton's communications director, Nick Merrill, first told Bourdain to "get a grip."

Her former campaign spokesman, Brian Fallon, told Bourdain to "go eat a scorpion."

Clinton adviser Adam Parkhomenko called Bourdain's comments "sad."

The Clinton aides also went after CNN media reporter Dylan Byers, who tweeted that Clinton should donate the Weinstein money on top of what she already gives to charity "in order to mean something."