Jackass star Ryan Dunn
TV personality Ryan Dunn's death was the subject of Roger Ebert's tweet. Image: fotointeresantos/Flickr/CC BY

Film critic Roger Ebert is being criticized by many for his Twitter post Monday referring to “Jackass” star Ryan Dunn’s untimely death on the same day. Ebert has responded to the backlash. The statement, however, remains critical of the late star’s behavior.

Ebert gets insensitive on Twitter

Roger Ebert, a prolific tweeter, posted the comment, “friends don’t let jackasses drink and drive” at about 3 p.m. Monday, the same day Dunn died in a fiery car accident. Dunn’s friend and passenger, Zachary Hartwell, had tweeted a photo of himself and Dunn drinking in a bar hours before the fatal accident. Hartwell was also killed in the accident. Dunn was famous for his often-painful stunts in the jackass television series and movies.

Response to the tweet

Dunn’s friend and fellow “Jackass” star Bam Magera lashed out at Ebert on Twitter. “I just lost my best friend, I have been crying hysterical for a full day and … Roger Ebert has the gall to put in his 2 cents, about a jackass drunk driving and his (sic) is one…”

Blogger Hilton Perez also reacted to Ebert’s comments. “We think there’s no reason – especially RIGHT NOW – that anyone should be pointing fingers or poking fun at a truly tragic situation. Everyone makes mistake(s), and this is somebody’s son. Too soon, Roger.”

Ebert answers criticism

“To begin with, I offer my sympathy to Ryan Dunn’s family and friends,” wrote Ebert, “and to those of Zachary Hartwell, who also died in the crash. I mean that sincerely. It is tragic to lose a loved one. I also regret that my tweet about the event was considered cruel. It was not intended as cruel. It was intended as true.”

Ebert wrote that he meant no insult by using the term “jackass” in reference to Dunn. “I meant exactly what I wrote. I wasn’t calling Ryan Dunn a jackass. In Twitter shorthand, I was referring to his association with ‘Jackass.’ I thought that was clear. I note that Bam Margera uses the word ‘jackass’ in the same way in his tweet.”

Ebert’s remarks remain critical

Ebert wrote that he had no way of knowing whether Dunn was drunk or not. He went on, however, to recount Dunn’s alleged history of fast driving and a possible past DUI. “I do know that nobody has any business driving on a public highway at 110 m.p.h., as some estimated — or fast enough, anyway, to leave a highway and fly through 40 yards of trees before crashing. That is especially true if the driver has had three shots and three beers. Two people were killed. What if the car had crashed into another car?”

Ebert’s Facebook page was shut down on Tuesday. “Facebook has removed my page in response, apparently, to malicious complaints from one or two jerks,” he tweeted. Ebert’s page has since been reinstated.

Sources

Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/20/roger-eberts-ryan-dunn-death-jackass_n_880950.html#s295271&title=SteveO
US Magazine: http://www.usmagazine.com/celebritynews/news/roger-ebert-apologizes-for-ryan-dunn-tweets-2011216
MSN: http://tv.msn.com/tv/article.aspx?news=654115&GT1=28103&mpc=2

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