New York Film Critics Circle issued an apology after one of its members rudely interrupted and insulted Steve McQueen during the group's awards banquet on January 6. The 44-year-old helmer was presented best director prize for "12 Years a Slave" by Harry Belafonte.
A man reportedly identified as Armond White, the film critic for CityArts, hurled expletive insult at McQueen when the director took the stage at the Edison Ballroom to collect his win. "You're an embarrassing doorman and garbage man! F*** you. Kiss my a**," the heckler allegedly yelled.
"On behalf of the New York Film Critics Circle, I apologize sincerely for the crass bit of heckling Mr. McQueen encountered," Joshua Rothkopf, the Time Out New York writer who is the circle's chairman, stated on Tuesday. "I'm mortified to learn that this was from one of our own members. We are taking disciplinary action."
White is known for his contrarian view. He took jabs at 2011 winners Annette Bening and Michelle Williams when hosting the NYFCC event that year. The next year, he made fun of Robert De Niro and Viola Davis as the two stars were speaking on the stage.
Despite the swirling reports on the internet, the film critic who called McQueen's "12 Years a Slave" a "torture porn" in his review denied he heckled the director. "I was misquoted, lied about," he told New York Times by phone. "I didn't yell anything. I was talking among my friends at the table."
White said he didn't hear any yelling at all. "What I read on the Internet today is outrageous and I don't know what that means," he added.