The critics have spoken, and Armond White has been kicked out of the New York Film Critics Circle. The controversial writer, known for trashing beloved films and honoring mediocre ones, embarrassed the group last week when he publicly heckled director Steve McQueen at the annual NYFCC awards dinner.
White allegedly called McQueen, who was being awarded the night's top honor by Harry Belafonte for his film 12 Years a Slave, a "garbageman" and an "embarassing doorman."
The behavior reportedly mortified many members of the esteemed group, including chairperson Joshua Rothkopf, who issued an apology on behalf of the NYFCC. "On behalf of the New York Film Critics Circle, I apologize sincerely for the crass bit of heckling Mr. McQueen encountered," Rothkopf said in a statement. "I’m mortified to learn that this was from one of our own members. We are taking disciplinary action."
Indeed, this isn't the first time White has heckled guests at the NYFCC annual dinner. He targeted Annette Benning and Michelle Williams in 2011, and Robert De Niro and Viola Davis the following year.
White is no fan of 12 Years a Slave as a film, either. In his review, he says, "12 Years a Slave belongs to the torture porn genre with Hostel, The Human Centipede and the Saw franchise but it is being sold (and mistaken) as part of the recent spate of movies that pretend 'a conversation about race.'"
Still, the critic denies the heckling incident, calling it a "smear campaign from people who don’t have the intellectual capacity to argue with me or debate me in terms of criticism."
McQueen, for his part, continues to ignore both the incident and the backlash. Perhaps he's choosing instead to focus on his Oscar speech.
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(Photo: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)