02/27/2002 at 01:00 AM EST
Don't tell Russell Crowe to shut up seems to be the lesson of an incident that occurred at the party after Sunday night's British Film Academy Awards. Variety reports in its Wednesday edition that the "A Beautiful Mind" winner, 37, shoved and cursed Malcolm Gerrie, 51, the producer of the awards ceremony (which is Britain's equivalent of the Oscars), for having edited Crowe's acceptance speech for TV. During his moment at the podium, Crowe had recited "Sanctity" by the Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh, which fell to the cutting-room floor by the time the tape-delayed show was broadcast. BBC executives, not Gerrie, decided to let Warren Beatty's acceptance speech for an honorary award fill the allotted time space instead, said the trade paper. Yet according to eyewitnesses at the Grosvenor House Hotel, where the party took place, Crowe, who had somehow learned about his speech being edited, approached Gerrie and yelled, "Who on earth had the (obscenity) audacity to take out the Best Actor's poem? . . . I'll make sure you never work in Hollywood." Crowe also reportedly kicked over some chairs. Producers of the awards show, saying that beforehand all nominees had been told three times to keep their remarks brief, told the Associated Press: "All we're saying is that Russell Crowe was abusive and behaved very unreasonably." DreamWorks, which coproduced "A Beautiful Mind" with Universal, has since apologized to Gerrie, Variety said. But an executive at a rival studio, noting the Oscar ballots are currently in the hands of voters, told PEOPLE.com, "This is the sort of thing that does not go over well with Academy members."