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The notoriously contrarian critic, currently the editor of City Arts, had come under fire recently for allegedly heckling "12 Years a Slave" director Steve McQueen during the NYFCC's annual awards ceremony last week, reportedly calling McQueen "an embarrassing doorman and garbage man," and shouting, "F-ck you. Kiss my ass."
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter following that incident, White maintained his innocence, claiming that those comments "were never uttered by me or anyone within my earshot," and that others' claims that they were constituted libel. But fellow critic Owen Gleiberman, of Entertainment Weekly, said he was in the room when White made those remarks, and that White's denial of the incident proves that "he was either lying or lying to himself, or perhaps both."
In a blog post explaining why he and his fellow NYFCC members voted to expel White, Gleiberman wrote that it was "a sad moment" for the organization, but a necessary step to quell what had become increasingly unprofessional behavior from White. Gleiberman said that he respected White's work as a critic and admired White's dedication to his opinions, even when they were extremely unpopular -- but White's belief that he has the right to express those opinions in whatever form and forum he chooses is incorrect.
"[W]hat's become clear is that Armond White's 'contrarian' impulses have slid over the line from being things that he thinks into a depressingly established pattern of reckless uncivil behavior," Gleiberman wrote. " ... 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 dismaying, relentless pattern of stubborn misbehavior."
For more of Gleiberman's thoughts on the situation, check out his full blog post at Entertainment Weekly.