Critic Armond White On The Defense: I ‘Didn’t Heckle’ Steve McQueen

As previously reported the most interesting thing to come out of the New York Film Critics Circle Awards ceremony was critic Armond White lambasting 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen while the famed filmmaker collected his award.

According to numerous reports, Armond White, who has a history of heckling people he doesn’t like, wasn’t having McQueen’s speech, or his film 12 Years a Slave, so when the director took to the stage, the critic shouted obscenities at the director. Some gems are as follows:

“You’re an embarrassing doorman and garbage man.” and of course the very classy follow-up, “F–k you. Kiss my a–.”

Various reports have said that McQueen either ignored him or just didn’t hear the heckles. However the critic is now on the defense, and claims that he didn’t heckle the 12 Years a Slave director. Although consider this for good evidence — after the ceremony the NYFCC chairman e-mailed Fox Searchlight to apologize to McQueen about the heckling by White, calling the moment, “crass bit of heckling.” The chairman, Joshua Rothkopf, whose e-mail was posted on Deadline, said that he was “mortified” and that there would be “disciplinary action.”

In a statement, White said that numerous reports covering his heckling of Steve McQueen are nothing more than a “barrage of lies, misreporting, unsubstantiated sources and made-up quotes is dismaying.”

Funny enough the critic changed the subject entirely and decided to focus on the wins of other artists, by claiming that the “misreporting” has distracted people from the achievements of others, “The awards themselves, and the highlights of the evening, such as James Toback and Peter Bogdanovich’s praise for best-picture winner ‘American Hustle,’ have been forgotten in the melee.”

In this case it’s fortunate that once you publish a piece, it never truly removes itself from the internet entirely. At the time of 12 Years a Slave’s release, White had harsh words to say, “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.’ The only conversation this film inspires would contain howls of discomfort.

Fortunately for Steve McQueen his film is still one of the top contenders for the awards race.