Twelve Years A Slave director Steve McQueen was met with taunting words from film critic Arnold White while accepting an award at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards Monday evening.

Steve McQueen Heckled By Film Critic

Upon receiving the directing award from Harry Belafonte, McQueen received applause – and mean-spirited heckles. “You’re an embarrassing doorman and garbage man,” White shouted from a back table, according to Variety. He allegedly continued with, “F—k you. Kiss my a–.” McQueen appeared oblivious to White’s disrespectful outburst.

White’s verbal abuse of McQueen more than likely has to do with 12 Years a Slave, a critically acclaimed movie that wowed the majority of reviewers. White was not one of the wowed. In his review of the antebellum-era film about the enslaved Solomon Northup, White slams the film's brutality, calling it “torture porn.”

Arnold White's '12 Years A Slave' Review

“For McQueen, cruelty is the juicy-arty part; it continues the filmmaker’s interest in sado-masochistic display, highlighted in his previous features Hunger and Shame,” reads White’s review. "Brutality is McQueen’s forte. As with his fine-arts background, McQueen’s films resemble museum installations: the stories are always abstracted into a series of shocking, unsettling events. “

White compares 12 Years a Slave to “horror show” movies like The Exorcist, Hostel, The Human Centipede and Saw. He decries the 10-time BAFTA nominated movie as the latest in a string of movies that use narratives of African American misfortune to drum up Oscar buzz and generate profit.

While White has denied the allegations of insulting McQueen and has refused to apologize, the New York Critics Circle – which employs White – has. “On behalf of the New York Film Critics Circle, I apologize sincerely for the crass bit of heckling Mr. McQueen encountered," chairman Joshua Rothkopf said in a statement. "I'm mortified to learn that this was from one of our own members. We are taking disciplinary action."

– Chelsea Regan

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