Critic gets colleagues' support in dispute over his review

THE BALTIMORE SUN

The L.A. Film Critics Association and the National Society of Film Critics have weighed in on behalf of Daily Variety film critic Joseph McBride in a spat with Paramount Pictures and Variety editor Peter Bart.

In a review of the Paramount thriller "Patriot Games," starring Harrison Ford, Mr. McBride chided the movie for trivializing the political situation in Ireland. Paramount protested and pulled all its advertising from Variety. Mr. Bart later wrote an apologetic letter to Paramount, suggesting that Mr. McBride's Irish background had affected his review.

In a letter to Mr. Bart last week, LAFCA president Charles Champlin wrote: "We have been dismayed and angered by what has appeared to be your refusal to support Variety's critic Joe McBride in the face of Paramount's move to pull its advertising from Variety. The matter seems particularly disturbing at a time when First Amendment rights are under constant siege."

Earlier, a statement released by the National Society of Film Critics said the group "strongly objects to the aspersions cast by Variety against its staff reviewer."

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