Roger Ebert Defends, Clarifies Ryan Dunn Comment

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Roger Ebert set off a firestorm of controversy yesterday with a single Tweet about Ryan Dunn, the Jackass star who perished in a car accident early Monday.

"Friends don't let jackasses drink and drive." That's all Ebert wrote, but the timing and word choice upset many, including Dunn's best friend Bam Margera.

Ebert's Facebook page has since been disabled and the film critic has been widely criticized by many on Twitter. In a new blog post, he explains the Tweet:

Roger Ebert Pic
RIP Ryan Dunn

"To begin with, I offer my sympathy to Ryan Dunn's family and friends, and to those of Zachary Hartwell, who also died in the crash," Ebert writes.

"I mean that sincerely. It is tragic to lose a loved one. I regret that my tweet about the event was considered cruel. It was not intended as cruel."

"It was intended as true. I meant exactly what I wrote. I wasn't calling Ryan Dunn a jackass. I was referring to his association with Jackass. I thought that was clear."

"Note that Bam Margera uses the word 'jackass' in the same way in his tweet."

Ebert goes on to further explain the context of what he said:

"I don't know what happened in this case, and I was probably too quick to tweet. That was unseemly," he says, citing what prompted the comment.

"I have no way of knowing if Ryan Dunn was drunk at the time of his death. What I knew before posting my tweet was that not long before his death, he posted a photo on Tumbler showing himself drinking with two friends."

"I do know that nobody has any business driving on a public highway at 110 mph, 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 also references an interview in which Bam Margera's mother, April, said Dunn was a fast driver and she told him to slow down "every day" following a bad accident he was involved in more than a decade ago.

"In another story, it was indicated that DUI was involved in the earlier crash," Ebert says, ending his blog by saying simply that "[April Margera] was being Ryan's friend. Friends don't let friends drink and drive."

In light of this explanation, what do you think of Ebert's Tweet?



IT was bad timing and I think that Rogere should have kept that opinion to himself right now. But Roger was 100% right. I am upset that people are defending tjhe drinking and driving in anyway and I am even more upset that people resort to childish name calling concerning Rogers face. This is tragic but both people in the car knew the chance they were taking when they ot into the yes I feel for the loved ones, but it is what it is. A foolish deadly mistake.


It's true what he said, but he said it too soon. He should have respected the families and friends involved more than to start tweetig about it almost immediately, that was real insensitive of him.


That he chewed the rest of his face off.


He said it. Its true..GET OVER IT.


I agree with Roger one-hundred precent on what he said. These are the kind of idiots that our young teens consider "Role Models". What is this world coming to when they look up to a bunch of drunks?


Well for me its not the fact that he said Jackass because when I read it I automatically knew he was referring to the movies it was just the timing of when he said it! I mean Ryan just died about 2 days ago I think? You should wait at least a month or something. He didn't even wait a week to say something!!!!!!!


I absolutely agree with him, but think he could have worded better - as he has said.


Roger Ebert was clearly not intending on his original tweet to come off as a joke or insincere. The fact that Bam Margera's comment also referenced "Jackass" it is not totally inappropriate what he said. Drunk Driving is a problem in the U.S. Even if alcohol wasn't involved in the crash, there's never a bad time to remind people the dangers of driving under the influence. I wish the family of those lost in the crash are able to recover emotionally from this tragedy


Ok @emily, I guess I have to kiss your ass because I have never driven drunk or buzzed. Most people are smarter and more responsible than that. To put not only yourself but every other person who happens to be on the road at the same time as you in danger because you can't control yourself or won't call a friend, a cab or take a bus or subway after a night of drinking is disgusting and a crime. I am very sorry that these two young men have died. It is awaful and my sympathy goes out to their family and friends. But that does not change the fact that drinking and driving is something one should never, ever do. A little forethought about how you can safely get home after drinking can save huge heartache!


Well no shit people shouldn't drink and drive...and people shouldn't make a joke about the tragic death of two young people either! Mr. Ebert should have expressed how sorry he was with sincerity and not comedy. I expect more from Roger Ebert a man who went through cancer treatment and was given another chance at life!

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