×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

N.Y. Film Critics Circle Emails Reveal ‘Damage Control’

'12 Years a Slave' distributor irked after awards heckling

The New York Film Critics Circle is reeling today after its annual gala made headlines for a heckling incident between one of its members and “12 Years a Slave” director Steve McQueen.

As first reported by Variety last night, CityArts editor Armond White started to shout a string of nasty comments to McQueen as he was accepting his prize on-stage. “You’re an embarrassing doorman and garbage man,” yelled White, who had previously panned the film. “F—you. Kiss my ass.”

The organization has set an emergency meeting for Monday, Jan. 13 at Lincoln Center to discuss what to do about the situation.

Variety has learned that chairman Joshua Rothkopf, a senior writer for Time Out New York, sent a mass email to the other members after the ceremony. The subject line was “Ruined.”

“I was looking forward to sending out a post-show email of thanks to everyone who helped make last night so special,” the email said. “Instead, I’m met this morning with links to no less than TEN pieces of reporting from around the world — not about Harry Belafonte’s magnificent speech or the two standing ovations, but about the heckling. I also have a perturbed email from Barry Dale Johnson at Fox Searchlight that will require a response. In short: damage control.”

“It amazes me that we have members who are so self-serving, they would sacrifice the decorum of the group … solely to satisfy their egos,” Rothkopf added. “Never thought I’d write this, but after months of event planning and two years of service as an officer, I’m happy to be done with it.”

A dozen or so other critics started to weigh in, including New York Post’s Lou Lumenick, who asked, “Do we really want to keep fueling the story?”

“You know what, Lou? Coming from you, that’s a fucking laugh,” Rothkopf promptly wrote back to the entire chain. “I have no problem saying this now with the event over, but at this upcoming meeting, we’re also going to discuss YOUR ridiculous confrontation with me at the voting meeting, YOUR flagrant reporting of the vote totals and YOUR expulsion.”

In a public apology from the organization first posted by Deadline, Rothkopf is quoted as saying the group is taking “disciplinary action.”

But another source with close ties to the organization questioned if that’s possible, since the Critics Circle’s bylaws don’t include a method for expelling one of its members. In other words, they might have to write a law about heckling and see what happens next year.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Beyonce Knowles'The Lion King' film premiere,

    ABC Announces Behind-the-Scenes Special for Beyoncé's 'Lion King' LP

    ABC has announced a new behind-the-scenes look into the making of Beyoncé’s “The Lion King: The Gift” LP, which is set to air September 16 on ABC at 10 p.m. EST. Titled “Beyoncé Presents: Making the Gift,” the new hour-long special will allow viewers to “experience the process” behind the “Lion King” companion album, according [...]

  • Jason Lei Howden, Samara Weaving and

    Daniel Radcliffe On Acting With Weapons Nailed To Your Hands

    How did “Guns Akimbo” director and writer Jason Lei Howden convince Daniel Radcliffe to play a character with guns nailed to his hands? Easy, he sent him the script. Radcliffe joined Howden and “Ready or Not’s” breakout star Samara Weaving in the Variety’s Toronto Film Festival studio, presented by AT&T to talk the limits of [...]

  • Box Office: It Chapter Two Maintains

    Box Office: 'It: Chapter Two' Continues International Reign With $47 Million

    Pennywise’s reign of terror hasn’t wavered: Warner Bros.’ “It Chapter Two” maintained first place on box office charts, led by another strong showing overseas. The sequel, based on Stephen King’s horror novel, generated another $47 million at the international box office for a foreign tally of $169 million. After two weeks of release, “It Chapter [...]

  • First still from the set of

    Taika Waititi’s 'Jojo Rabbit' Wins Top Prize at Toronto Film Festival Awards

    Taika Waititi’s “Jojo Rabbit” has won the coveted People’s Choice Award at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. The honor positions the film for a potential Oscar run and bolsters its awards chances. That’s good news for Fox Searchlight, which must have been disappointed by the lackluster critical reception for the movie, a dark comedy [...]

  • Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez star

    Box Office: 'Hustlers' Racks Up Solid $33 Million Debut, 'Goldfinch' Bombs

    “Hustlers” rolled in the Benjamins this weekend, collecting $33.2 million when it debuted in 3,250 North American theaters. Boosted by rave reviews and stellar word of mouth, “Hustlers” beat expectations and now ranks as the best start for an STX film, along with the biggest live-action opening weekend for stars Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu. [...]

  • German Cinema Is Diverse, But Is

    German Cinema Is Varied, But Is It Too Risk Averse?

    One of the strengths of German cinema is its diversity, says Simone Baumann, managing director of the national film promotion agency German Films. As well as the three films at Toronto directed by female German helmers, there was also German filmmaker Thomas Heise’s documentary film essay “Heimat Is a Space in Time.” Then there were [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content