“12 Years a Slave” director Steve McQueen was heckled by New York-based film critic Armond White at the New York Film Critics Circle, or NYFCC, on Monday.
According to reports, the director was heckled by White as soon as he took to the stage to receive the best director award.
White reportedly shouted at McQueen from his table, “an embarrassing doorman and garbage man,” along with explicit words. McQueen didn’t respond or show any reaction to the words.
Reports said that on Tuesday NYFCC Chairman Joshua Rothkopf apologized in an email to “12 Years a Slave” distributor Fox Searchlight.
Rothkopf wrote: “On behalf of the New York Film Critics Circle, I apologize sincerely for the crass bit of heckling Mr. McQueen encountered. I’m mortified to learn that this was from one of our own members. We are taking disciplinary actions.” He added, “I’m especially pained that this occurred in your case. Rarely do we receive thank-you notes, as Steve sent us after the vote. Moreover, his speech showed a deep understanding of the history of our award winners: an honored group in which he stands as an equal. Please forward our apology on to him.”
White reportedly responded to questions by email, saying he was “not in a position or vicinity to yell at McQueen.” He said that he was talking among his tablemates and that the “gutter bloggers” had lied and misquoted him.
White, who has been one of the more controversial critics in recent times, wrote last October that “12 Years a Slave” was his “Dud of the Week.” He added that the film belonged to the “torture porn” genre. He also slammed critically acclaimed movies like “Gravity, “Blue Jasmine” and “Captain Phillips.”