White uses most of his space in this week's New York Press review of Greenberg to reflect on the controversy that spilled out last week over his being disinvited from the film's screening. The snub, which was the subject of much chatter among New York film and media types, was allegedly due to White's calling for the mother of Greenberg director Noah Baumbach to have an abortion. As this allegation was debated on the web, Village Voice critic J. Hoberman dug up a copy of the review, which wasn't available online, from the public library and posted it online in a post titled "Proof That Critic Armond White Did Call for Noah Baumbach's Abortion." (By the way, Baumbach's mother, Georgia Brown, was a Voice film critic in the 1980s.) That gesture was not looked upon kindly by White, who contends that Hoberman "deliberately mischaracterized the review," before attacking the longtime Voice critic for "normaliz[ing] the arrogance of class privilege" and calling him "a force behind racist snobbery" and "the scoundrel-czar of contemporary film criticism." MORE: Hoberman responds.
Despite rumors that were flying around the web yesterday, the controversial film critic has not been banned from seeing a screening of director Noah Baumbach's latest film. "He has RSVP'd for Friday afternoon," Baumbach publicist Leslee Dart tells the Village Voice. "I made a decision, not the filmmaker, that based on the horrible comments he's made about Noah personally -- like how his mother should have had an abortion and how he's never met him, but he's an asshole -- I made a decision that he shouldn't be one of the first critics to see the film." IFC.com's Independent Eye blog has more on the backstory involving White and Baumbach's mother, Georgia Brown, who reviewed movies for the Voice in the 1980s. MORE from New York and Movieline.com.
Armond White, who recently took over as the new chairman of the NY Film Critics Circle, has tastes and opinions that have proved controversial in critic and fan circles. There's even a blog, "Armond Dangerous," devoted to "parsing the confounding film criticism of Mr. Armond White." But White says he doesn't mind, and that he's not stirring the pot just to stir the pot. "I don't say these things to call attention to myself or to get a rise out of people. I say them because I believe them," he tells New York. "We're living in times when critics get fired if they don't like enough movies. People don't need to hear what mouthpieces for the movie industry tell them. They need to hear the truth."
Armond White will replace Entertainment Weekly critic Lisa Schwarzbaum as chairman of the New York Film Critics Circle. White, who previously held the same post in 1994, becomes the third African-American to chair NYFCC in the group's 75-year history.