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Apology over McQueen 'heckling'

Steve McQueen was unruffled by the heckling incident: Photo © Apology over McQueen 'heckling' Photo

Hollywood's award season has been rocked by a heckling incident between 12 Years A Slave director Steve McQueen and film critic Armond White.

At the New York Film Critics Circle Awards, White allegedly jeered McQueen as "an embarrassing doorman and garbage man" while he was presented the best director award by Harry Belafonte. McQueen dismissed the outburst, apparently not bothered by it.

In an email to 12 Years A Slave distributor Fox Searchlight, NYFCC chairman Joshua Rothkopf apologised for "the crass bit of heckling". In the letter, first posted online by Deadline Hollywood, Rothkopf said he was "mortified" that it came from one of the group's own members and pledged "disciplinary action".

White, an editor for CityArts, is known for his controversial film reviews. He panned 12 Years A Slave as "torture porn."

In response to questions by email, White disputed reports about his awards-night behaviour but declined to explain what he said of McQueen.

"The barrage of lies, misreporting, unsubstantiated sources and made-up quotes is dismaying," White said. "The awards themselves, and the highlights of the evening, such as James Toback and Peter Bogdanovich's praise for best-picture winner American Hustle, have been forgotten in the melee."

Founded in 1935, the New York Film Critics Circle is one of the most prestigious critics groups in the country, made up of 38 New York-area critics. White has previously served as chairman.

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