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Watch: '12 Years A Slave' Director Steve McQueen Stays Classy When Asked About Armond White's Comments

by Kevin Jagernauth
January 18, 2014 9:18 AM
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12 Years A Slave

Whether or not he heard them on the actual night is still not known, but by now someone has told director Steve McQueen about Armond White's insults at the New York Film Critics Circle awards. The contrarian critic shouted, "You're an embarrassing doorman and garbage man” as McQueen went up to accept his Best Director award. The incident made headlines everywhere, and White was kicked out of the NYFCC as a result. As for McQueen, he's pretty much remained silent on it all, but it was only a matter of time before someone was going to ask.

Somewhat randomly/oddly, it was during an appearance on "The Arsenio Hall Show" that McQueen was pointedly asked about White's insults (though the critic's name was kept out it). And McQueen's response? Well, he kept it classy. He mostly sidesteps it, instead explaining why he was able to make the kind of bracing movie about slavery that hasn't been made ... well, ever. Nicely played. And certainly, with nine Oscar nominations on the table, you want to keep the narrative about the movie, not on what some attention-seeking writer said.

Watch McQueen on "The Arsenio Hall Show" below, along with a new featurette and Academy Awards TV spot.

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More: 12 Years a Slave, Steve McQueen

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  • alonso | March 15, 2014 2:02 AMReply

  • kategreen | March 12, 2014 10:53 PMReply

    Death to everyone that works at Fox and cancer on their children.

  • Nimsy Numpty | February 20, 2014 2:08 AMReply

    calling anyone a doorman/ garbage man sounds trashy. seriously this guy is a writer/ critic and couldn't come up with something witty to say. yeah kick that retard out. Next as a woman whose mother is Germany Jewish Native New Yorker & father is Black American from Texas. Everyone thinks im spanish. My father came to NYC from the ghetto in Texas. was accepted into Cooper Union school of art & Engineering. Obviously this has nothing to directly do with the film but i felt like mentioning this. So I hear many stereotypes about Black Americans everyday but my father never fit those stereotypes and hes the black man I grew up with as my role mode. I just watched 12 Years a slave. I cant recall watching a realistic film about slavery. Roots? seriously? was that comment meant to be funny. im almost certain Roots was a mini series made decades ago it was not a major motion film for the big screen with celebrities in it. Anyway It was important to me that this director made this film because I didn't know who Solomon was and now I will read the book. Im not a writer so my apologies in advance ;)

  • Alex | January 20, 2014 12:54 PMReply

    A movie about slavery that hasn't been made ever? What? I suppose Roots doesn't count?

  • emma | January 18, 2014 7:14 PMReply

    Writers are still writing about Armond White to get clicks on your stories. At least Mr. McQueen sees through it and refuses to go along with this.

  • ae | January 18, 2014 10:19 AMReply

    I felt uncomfortable when I heard about White's alleged comments to McQueen but I was downright disturbed when I heard White had been kicked out for them. Clearly McQueen is made of stronger stuff than the NY Critics Circle.

  • teadoust | January 22, 2014 10:35 PM

    as near as i can tell, no one has ever behaved quite as horribly at the awards as white reputedly has on more than one occasion. he has repeatedly insulted guests. yes, the NYFCC did the right thing in expelling him. he's entitled to write whatever he wants in his reviews and essays. but he should at least pretend to be civilized at public functions.

  • FRANK | January 19, 2014 2:01 PM

    Of course he shouldn't. How sensitive can you get?

    Also, he didn't say those things. I was there.

  • DArtagnan | January 18, 2014 10:55 AM

    You think he should not have been kicked out?

  • - | January 18, 2014 10:49 AM

    "I was downright disturbed when I heard White had been kicked out for them"
    Why? It was a private event, they didn't have to let the guy stay and keep interrupting if they didn't want to.

  • Brandt | January 18, 2014 9:34 AMReply

    America very well needed a British film team to capture the levity of Solomon Northup’s story. The entire cast never pulled a punch and finally created a movie as vicious as slavery itself. You can read more about it with some movie art on the Top 10 Movies of 2013 at

  • Gerard Kennelly | January 18, 2014 6:02 PM

    Lone Survivor and The Butler were stomach turning propaganda

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