New Yorker staff writer John Lahr caused a bit of a stir on Friday night when he tweeted, "Farewell David Denby, a masterly film critic and cohort, after a distinguished sixteen year ride at the New Yorker. Power to your pen!" Denby isn't entirely gone from the publication, though. He told Indiewire that he'll be staying on as a staff writer: "I will write some longer pieces on movies and other things, contribute to the web when I have something juicy to say. Right now, I'm finishing a book (nothing to do with movies)."
As an alternating film critic with Anthony Lane, Denby has seen his share of controversy over the last decade and a half: Denby was once banned by Scott Rudin from screenings for publishing an early review of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and most recently drew criticism for calling author Cheryl Strayed "big-bodied" in his review of Wild. (We should note here that he is also the author of Snark: It's Mean, It's Personal, and It's Ruining Our Conversation.)
In an email to Indiewire, New Yorker director of communications Natalie Raabe wrote that the magazine wouldn't be looking for a replacement for Denby. Instead, Anthony Lane will continue as the sole film critic:
Our David Edelstein has this to say: "Before his current stint at the New Yorker, David Denby was the film critic right here at New York magazine for 20 years, beginning in the late 1970s, and he set a standard that arguably has never been equalled although I give it my damnedest shot every week. He and I have had our artistic disagreements—the menschiest of mensches, he mostly handles my accusations that he can be a bit of a fuddy-duddy with equanimity—but I was and remain in awe of his beautiful, evocative writing and discerning analyses. The news that he is leaving biweekly reviewing at the New Yorker is, of course, a disappointment, but as he’s remaining at the magazine and now has a forum to write—I hope--whatever he bloody pleases, I can’t wait for the latest chapter in his long and brilliant career."