The Hollywood Reporter‘s Scott Feinberg has posted a long quote from City Arts critic Armond White about his reported heckling of 12 Years A Slave direct Steve McQueen two nights ago at the New York Film Critics Circle award ceremony in midtown Manhattan. The quote boils down to White claiming that the remarks attributed to him about McQueen weren’t spoken by him, that Variety‘s Ramin Setoodeh reported “a malicious lie,” and that whatever White did say wasn’t intended for general consumption but for those at his table.
City Arts critic Armond White.
White has also described himself as “the strongest voice that exists in contemporary criticism,” and claimed that a “Communist-style” NYFCC committee is apparently determined to deep-six him, at least as far as his NYFCC membership is concerned.
“The comments that I supposedly made were never uttered by me or anyone within my earshot,” White has told Feinberg. “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?”
White is saying that what he said came from a passionate place, and that the nature of his remarks weren’t subservient in nature. Do the math.
“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.”