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:
"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?