Posted on Thursday, January 20th, 2011 by Germain Lussier
The man who famously panned Toy Story 3 and Inception but loved Grown Ups and Jonah Hex once again finds himself at the center of a huge controversy. This time, though, it’s a bit more serious than his unconventional taste in movies. Famously contrarian New York Press film critic Armond White got national attention last week after getting into a public war of words with Darren Aronofsky and reportedly making Annette Bening cry at the New York Critics Circle Awards. Now White has accused that group of attempting to smear his reputation because of racism.
In addition to a brand new essay on the topic, which describes the events in detail, White appeared on Sirius XM’s Ron Bennington Interviews to not only comment on the events at the Awards but to air his beef with Village Voice film critic J. Hoberman and Entertainment Weekly critic Lisa Schwartzbaum. The full interview will air at 2 p.m. Sunday on Sirius Stars Too, XM 139, Sirius 108 but Bennington played some clips from the interview on his regular show, The Ron and Fez Show, which airs at 11 a.m. weekdays on XM 202, Sirius 197 .
See video clips of the interview below.
White began by saying that the events at the New York Critics Circle Awards, where his comments reportedly made Bening cry, were lies:
Oddly, [the awards] got me noticed for things that did not happen. It all started with an article on The Gawker website. An article that was written by a friend of an enemy…the enemy being J. Hoberman at The Village Voice. So a friend of J. Hoberman wrote a lie. And the lie caught fire and is all over the internet.
And he had this to say to Darren Aronofsky, who came on stage and said that White was “another reason not to read the New York Press.”
This asshole Darren Aronofsky comes up on stage […] and he decided to do the stupid thing and take a shot at me.
Here’s the video of those comments.
[Note from Russ: Mr. White says that no one reported his "Darren Aronofsky reads me, and that's all I want" comments, but that's not quite true. I read that quote in several places, including The LA Times, Movieline, and IndieWire. Those outlets also printed Mr. Aronofsky's statement from later in the evening, "I was a dick. I’m sorry."]
Here’s a segment of the exchange in the next video, in which Bennington and White talk about the accusations of Schwartzbaum and Hoberman being racist.
ARMOND WHITE: I’m not paranoid about this: Hoberman and Schwarzbaum don’t like me. And really, I don’t talk about these things in public. I talk about them now because they made it public. It was never my wish to make them public. You know, there are a lot of people who don’t like me and there are a lot of people I don’t like. I don’t talk about that in public, especially if they’re members of The New York Film Critics Circle. I respect the circle. I respect that institution and I keep my private thoughts about the members private. But, they didn’t do that…they attempted to smear my reputation. And I figured I’ve got no recourse then except to defend myself. And the truth is my only defense. And part of that truth is that they just don’t like me. And I do think that part of that not liking me is that I’m the only black man in the room.
RON BENNINGTON: So you really think it comes down to racism? After all these years, we’re still at that point?
AW: Sad to say, and everybody knows it. Everybody knows it. I’m not the only one and it’s not new.
RB: So everyone knows that those two people are racist?
AW: Now they know, now they know. Because the only way—one thing I regret about this profession is that […]we critics don’t talk among each other. We don’t debate, we don’t discuss. And instead, what Hoberman and Schwarzbaum have done is that, instead of having a discussion, they told a lie. And they told a lie, I think, out of personal motivation.
Here’s the video of that exchange and more.
Finally, White lays the race card on the whole Critics Circle:
You’ve got to consider, The New York Film Critics Circle has been around for 76 years and in its entire history there have only been two black people in it? And I’m one of them? And I’ve got enemies, not because of anything I’ve done to someone, but simply because I’m there.
Those comments are in this video clip here.
Step aside from the fact that you might not agree with his assessments of movies and look at these accusations objectively. Do you think there’s any possible degree of truth in them or is White just being paranoid and his usual boisterous self?