Film Critic Armond White Denies Heckling Dir. Steve McQueen with ‘F— you. Kiss My Ass’

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  • Wow, this Armond White dude is a real trip!

    As we reported, at the 69th annual New York Film Critics Circle Awards, White, a well-known and extremely controversial film critic for the New York City culture review City Arts reportedly made disparaging remarks about best director winner Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave”) as McQueen took the stage.

    Like a lot of films he reviews, White – to put it mildly – hated McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave” when he reviewed it back in October. But, as we said, he allegedly took things to a whole ‘nother level with his outrageous comments Monday night (01-06-14).

    According to Variety, White’s alleged and shocking words were: “You’re an embarrassing doorman and garbage man. F— you. Kiss my ass.”

    Well, as we also reported, the NYFCC … which White is a longtime member of and even a past chairman, issued an apology to McQueen.  Also, it’s being reported that the organization has called an emergency meeting to address the incident. If rules permit, and certain members get their way, you can look for a future report saying White is a ex-member.

    However, White, in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, is claiming that he he’s being slandered. He insists he never made those comments and has a message for his associates in the NYFFC.

    Via the Hollywood Reporter, here is Armond White’s full and unedited take on the situation:

    The comments that I supposedly made were never uttered by me or anyone within my earshot. I have been libeled by publications that recklessly quoted unnamed sources that made up what I said and to whom I was speaking. Someone on the podium talked about critics’ “passion.” Does “passion” only run one-way toward subservience?

    The press has accustomed itself to treating me as a bete noir–so much so that eavesdroppers at the event continually misrepresent my behavior, even to the point of repeating such lies as distorting my cheer for Robert De Niro’s The Good Shepherd into “heckling” and that I “made Annette Bening cry”–both false allegations. Among some Circle members and media folk, there is personal, petty interest in seeing me maligned. I guess the awards themselves don’t matter. It’s a shameless attempt to squelch the strongest voice that exists in contemporary criticism.

    Right now former NYFCC Chairman Joshua Rothkopf, acting Chairman Stephen Whitty, Karen Durbin, David Denby, Rex Reed, Dana Stevens and others have arranged a Communist-style special “Emergency Meeting” supposedly in the interest of legislating “decorum”–a meeting based entirely upon something that none of them actually heard and one that is really intended to purge me from the Circle. Only David Edelstein, with whom I’ve had past public disputes, showed the common courtesy to inquire if the rumors were true.

    Did I make sotto voce comments to entertain my five guests? Sure, but nothing intended for others to hear and none correctly “reported.” I don’t even know what it means to call Steve McQueen a “garbage man” or “doorman” even though the racist implications are obvious. None of this makes sense which is what happens when online journalism reports a malicious lie.

    As for the group’s craven “Emergency Meeting.” I dont care what they decide. It’s not a meeting I plan to attend. –Armond White

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