Francois Duhamel
Associated Press
January 07, 2014 AT 12:00 PM EST

The New York Film Critics Circle has apologized for the heckling of 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen at the group’s awards banquet.

When McQueen was presented the best director award Monday night by Harry Belafonte, critic Armond White allegedly jeered McQueen as “an embarrassing doorman and garbage man.”

In an email to 12 Years a Slave distributor Fox Searchlight first posted online by Deadline, NYFCC chairman Joshua Rothkopf apologized to McQueen for “the crass bit of heckling” he encountered. Rothkopf said he was “mortified” that it came from one of the group’s own members and pledged “disciplinary action.”

White did not immediately respond to an email Tuesday.

The CityArts editor is well known for his contrarian film reviews. He panned 12 Years a Slave as “torture porn.”

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