It had to happen. And as Entertainment Weekly critic Owen Gleiberman wrote in a column, White brought this down on himself.
You might need a refresher course – or maybe you didn’t read the story the first time around. At a recent awards ceremony held by the NYFCC, White was accused of verbally heckling 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen when the filmmaker took the stage to accept his Best Director honor. The director was tearing up following a moving tribute by Harry Belafonte. White – who is on record as not liking the Golden Globe-winning 12 Years a Slave -- shouted from his table that McQueen was "an embarrassing doorman" and a "garbage man."
"F—k you," White reportedly shouted from his table in the back of the venue. "Kiss my ass."
White has denied his outburst, but it was confirmed by too many people around him. Twitter lashed back are White. Personally, I wrote a piece shaming the NYFCC for keeping White in their ranks.
He’s not in their ranks anymore.
Gleiberman’s column largely defended White’s work as a critic, calling him "an extraordinarily vital voice: not a soft one, to be sure, but a demanding and even important one." At the same time, the EW critic admitted:
Now that he’s done it again, what’s 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 recklessly uncivil behavior. Ultimately, the two things have nothing to do with each other. 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 and relentless pattern of stubborn misbehavior."
Twitter became a water cooler of reaction, just as it did following White’s heckling.
Armond White’s criticism influenced the way I interpret cinema. No one had sharper reads on Spielberg or De Palma. Bummed it came to this.— Jeremy Smith (@mrbeaks) January 13, 2014
Armond White has been kicked out of the @NYFCC. The second-worst thing they've done, after naming American Hustle the Best Film of 2013.— The Film Stage (@TheFilmStage) January 13, 2014
White isn’t losing his gig at City Arts in New York City (as far as we know). But he asked for this removal with his actions. Again, this had to be done.