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Armond White Booted From New York Film Critics Circle

11:06 AM PST 01/13/2014 by Rebecca Ford, Scott Feinberg
Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images
Armond White

UPDATED: The City Arts film critic says of the critics' group, "They're lousy critics and worse human beings. I am relieved of their horrific company."

Armond White, the film critic for CityArts who allegedly heckled director Steve McQueen, has been expelled from the New York Film Critics Circle, the organization confirmed Monday.

"The New York Film Critics Circle deeply regrets any embarrassment caused its guests or honorees by any member’s recent actions,” said Stephen Whitty, critic for the Star-Ledger and the group’s new chair, in an official statement. “Sadly, disciplinary measures had to be taken, to prevent any reoccurrence. We apologize again to our guests and look forward to the rest of 2014 and our 80th anniversary.”

"The current New York Film Critics Circle has now revealed to the world its deep-seated ugliness, ingratitude and inferiority," White responded. "They're lousy critics and worse human beings. I am relieved of their horrific company."

At the recent New York Film Critics Circle Awards, White reportedly yelled at Steve McQueen, the NYFCC's best director winner for 12 Years a Slave, when he took the stage. "You're an embarrassing doorman and garbage man. F--- you. Kiss my ass," he allegedly said.

STORY: Embattled Film Critic Armond White: I Never Heckled Steve McQueen

The outburst from White, who has garnered a reputation for similar behavior at previous NYFCC ceremonies, could not be heard from the front of the room and did not interrupt the proceedings.

After the incident, White -- who had written a harsh review of McQueen's film -- shared with THR his side of the events:

"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?"

Expanding on his position in the wake of his expulsion, White said in an email, "It would be great if you did an editorial starting with the dangers of internet film 'reporting'--the unconfirmed (false) Variety allegations, then Chairman and Circle members' apparent vendetta (stemming from the 'Armond made Annette Bening cry' lies posted on Gawker by [Jim] Hoberman's friends) and today's punishment exceeding the 'offense'."

White was referring to an incident at the 2011 NYFCC awards when Gawker accused White of reducing Bening to tears, and he was laying blame on a rival critic, Jim Hoberman, formerly of The Village Voice.

Thelma Adams, another member of the NYFCC, told THR in 2011 that the alleged Bening incident "never happened," but confirmed long-running tensions between Hoberman and White. "There definitely is a phalanx of Jim Hoberman/Village Voice acolytes that is at odds with White," she said. "It's as apparent as the Hatfields versus the McCoys, the Capulets versus the Montagues." She declined to comment on White's expulsion.

Additionally, New York Post film critic Lou Lumenick was suspended from the NYFCC for a year because he had revealed the tallies of votes, which goes against the group's bylaws. When contacted by THR, Lumenick had no comment.

Explaining why he voted to expel White, Entertainment Weekly critic Owen Gleiberman posted a long explanation , concluding,  "White has the right to believe, and say in print, anything he wants. But disrupting a public event is a squalid form of acting out that has no defense. And that’s why he was kicked out of the New York Film Critics Circle: because of a destructive and relentless pattern of stubborn misbehavior."

One NYFCC member tells THR, "There was a lot of discussion about whether to suspend or expel Armond White. Not much question about Lou."

 

Tim Appelo contributed to this story.

 

 
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