Armond White Responds to Lisa Schwarzbaum's NYFCC Complaints by Calling Her Racist

(Deep long sigh) I know, I know: This is exactly what Armond White wants. When someone writes a column as inflammatory as the one he wrote this week, it's done for one purpose: To get attention. And, yes, we are playing into the game by giving him the attention that he wants. It's just, wow. It's hard to ignore this one: White -- who you may have heard is a bit of a contrarian -- unleashed a 1,700-word rant in which he accused Entertainment Weekly's Lisa Schwarzbaum -- and the Village Voice's Jim Hoberman, with whom White has had a longstanding feud -- of racism.

This all started at the New York Film Critics' Circle awards, an awards presentation that, as chairman of the group, White hosted last week. You'll recall that he wasn't shy about sharing his displeasure with a lot of the winners -- Black Swan, The Social Network, Blue Valentine and The Kids Are All Right, among them -- and refashioned his spot at at the head of the table as a bully pulpit.

Following the hubbub, Schwarzbaum -- a former NYFCC chair -- wrote a response to the awards banquet in which she voiced her embarrassment with the proceedings:

We all left -- okay, I left -- feeling sour and lectured to and embarrassed. Represented by an ungracious spokesman, all critics were made to look as sour and bitter and ungenerous as caricature (and Ratatouille) would have us. Judged by snark from one irritated director, everyone in that business was made to look ungracious.

While that description seems consistent with what most of the attendees took away from the proceedings, White disagreed -- vehemently:

Hiding behind the façade of publications with larger circulations, they assume professional integrity that doesn't exist. Oddly, they welcome being pissed on by movie people, then display the obnoxiousness of middleclass cowards who resent less-empowered people not like themselves.

Yes, racism motivates Schwarzbaum and Hoberman. They pretend to be hip and ladylike, but they're simply the type of class oppressors unique to the bourgeoisie. Blue-collar people would likely be straightforward and more honest, but these pseuds harbor unexamined ethnic prejudices, political partisanship, intellectual pretenses and jealousy.

Fact is, they're shills: uninterested in free expression or different points of view."

It gets worse:

Schwarzbaum's the sort who comes to your party, brings her rude friends, eats your food, drinks your liquor, walks out in a huff without saying "Thank you," then complains in public that the host is ungracious.

EW, a publication that brainwashes its readers into consumerist idiocy, is home to Schwarzbaum's lifelong mantra "The Oscars matter!" It's the mentality of autograph hounds, which is how Schwarzbaum and the Hobermice, in their post-awards-dinner tantrum, want to reduce the NYFCC.

If you're wondering where Schwarzbaum's racism comes in, you're not alone. And for what it's worth, she isn't the one showing a picture of herself posing with Annette Bening on the side panel of her article. Anyway, this all happened. Thankfully for the NYFCC, this is White's final year as chairman, and thus, he won't host the ceremonies in 2012. Controversy over?

· Indecent Exposure [NY Press]

· Armond White vs. Darren Aronofsky: When critics and filmmakers collide in public [EW]


  • Martini Shark says:

    So he's black, White, probably sexist, and possibly anti-semitic; he sounds like he may be positioning himself for his own program on Showtime after "Californication".

  • Just an onlooker says:

    @MartiniShark ~ And so you're as guilty as he is - "possibly anti-semitic"?? Just because he's black and borderline delusional doesn't make him "anti-semitic", any more than Ms. Scharzbaum's comments being labeled as "racist."

  • whowhathuh says:

    wow. no wonder no one reads movieline. this ... is important to you? lol.

  • Mel says:

    They're critics, so why cant they be criticized? As far as racism, doesn't he basically say they harbor bourgie ideals that would disfavor that which are not like them?
    Whatever, sometimes people have a different opinion. You're allowed to express it.

  • TurdBlossom says:

    I'm guessing he finds racisits everywhere.

  • zooeyglass1999 says:

    I do agree with him about EW brainwashing "its readers into consumerist idiocy."

  • KevyB says:

    And where do these "no one reads movieline" facts come from? I see many comments on here, meaning some people obviously do read this. And, apparently, this article was important enough for some people to read, as they responded to it. Well, but then who expects "important" articles from a movie site? What ARE "important" movie site articles? I guess we should all be discussing Waiting for Superman and whether or not it's had any effect on the American school system. Then again, who knows what is considered important by someone who can't figure out how to use the Shift key. If proper grammar isn't important, can anything be important?

  • Martini Shark says:

    I was being wildly judgemental with no basis at all in fact - kinda like he was in his comments. See what I did there?

  • RoyBatty says:

    Like many other black intellectuals who came of age during the end of the Civil Rights era when King's approach was rejected for more militant and bridge-burning ones, White finds himself a man without a country. It can hardly be surprising that he would pull out his tattered old security blanket of "racism!" to make this about something other than he's just a miserable prick who cannot define himself unless there's a "other" to fight. The whole bizarre and unprofessional episode with Noah Baumbach and his mother should be enough to let this troll die the death he fears the most: being ignored.
    The man gives new meaning to the phrase "White trash...."

  • Anonymous says:

    If he's calling her racist, he probably knows something we don't. Ryan, I'm glad you sort of hit at the fact that you don't know all the sides. I wish some of your readers were so intelligent.

  • Trolls will be trolls.

  • Daniella Isaacs says:

    I'm guessing the great Pauline Kael is rolling over in her grave at how her once-promising protege has turned out...

  • Patrick McEvoy-Halston says:

    I don't know how much it is inflammatory. It could be, I'm still thinking about it, but what he's trying to do is cut clean to the bone, I think, and draw us in as if past all the shadows in Plato's cave. White is appalled by "Social Network," called IT clubby and immoral: ultimately a true assessment, I think. I really appreciate him for things like that -- though he's not my go-to, I do read him hoping to find some spark of revelatory or at least prompting truth I can be gracious for. As far as introducing guests with references to films they did ten years ago rather than what they're being rewarded for: well, it's honest, but refuses a kind of cooperation that surely would have shown itself if he was more the human -- there's no way it wasn't also rude, and's going to deserve a bit of a cut. And if I was Armond having so intruded, and planning to stick to my guns, I'd still welcome the returned snipes graciously: how else towards fair respect and mutuality?

  • Daniella Isaacs says:

    "Immoral", Patrick? What word is left for people who steal and rape if you're gonna call a group "immoral" for disagreeing with you on film quality. Jesus.

  • Patrick McEvoy-Halston says:

    I think it's high quality, Daniella, but I do think it immoral -- meaning that I think it's a film aiming for high acclaim that couldn't really care less for those without the talent to reach a kind of co-equality with entrenched Mayflower-descendent types: the bulk of most joe' and jane' facebook users out there. I think it "argues" that we really ought to be keying in on these people, be fascinated by them, because, despite their debauch, they CAN work significant wonders, while the rest of you out there enjoy the genuine magic, if only to come up with your own flat notes of nothing. When people are at real risk of losing under-girding for their already highly suspect and susceptible respectable social standing, I don't much like films which "argue" that if it further beyond-all-doubt looks like we've moved from something that could at least pretend to be a Jeffersonian democracy--with each "man" the equal to any other--to a simple Asian khanate, it actually pleases, because it's more in-sync with core truth of the distribution of focussed talent or descendant-born corporeality, with the proper regard owed those who either are or who actually do matter.
    I know there's the moral girl, the one who couldn't do Harvard, but despite being named and brought up at beginning and end, she's still undistinguished. (Probably, she's MOSTLY a haunt, only owing to her insubstantiality.) We find that you can't properly moralize, 'till you've proven you're matter. Otherwise, she's just the sharpest swish, a slight, untenable breeze could manage: She could completely fade away, and it is only YOUR obsession, grand facebook maker, which matters.

  • nat says:

    good for him he speaks for the real geeks; hollywood is a big bully!