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?

 

[Photos: WENN.com]

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Emily, I guess i'll be kissing your ass because I have NEVER EVER IN MY LIFE EVEN AS AN IDIOT TEENAGER driven after I'd had ANYTHING to drink. Not even a sip. I KNEW better. How many people have to DIE before people get the point that drinking and driving under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES is no bueno?! I don't think that the comment was particularly cruel (although I can see why his family and friends would be upset) especially considering the fact that he'd been in an accident involving a DUI before, he posted pics of himself drinking that night, and he was driving at a ridiculous rate of speed. People need to understand that a car is a deadly weapon, just like a gun or a knife, and people can lose their lives because of one JACKASS not taking it seriously.

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I AM A MOTHER OF 3 & I TOTALLY AGREE WITH HIM!!! IT WOULD KILL ME TO LOSE ONE OF THEM LIKE THIS BUT IT IS HIS STUPIDITY FOR GETTING BEHIND THAT WHEEL & HE DECIDED TO DRIVE @ VERY HIGH SPEEDS! I HOPE THAT HIS FAMILY, FRIENDS & FANS ALL LEARN FROM THIS TRAGIC ACCIDENT & BOTH FAMILIES CAN PULL THROUGH THIS. MY FAMILY JUST HAD A LOSE JUST LIKE THIS BUT THE PASSENGER SURVIVED THEY WERE ONLY 17 YRS OLD.

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Ok first of all I get u shouldn't drive drunk but 2 lives were taken and everybody can kiss my ass if your gonna say u haven't driven drunk or BUZZED I don't condone it but don't play the saint card the world will be laughing a little less rip Ryan DUNN

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If his friends and fans can't handle the truth, that is their failing. Drinking and driving is dangerous, whether or not he was technically over the legal limit (once test results are released, we will know), he drank, then drove, and he and his friend were killed in the crash that resulted. A crime was committed here. Dunn killed his passenger as well as himself. This is true even if he was "just" speeding. It won't be long before Zach Hartwell's family sues Dunn's estate for wrongful death. They will probably win a bundle, too. If Dunn hadn't been killed in the crash he'd be charged with homicide for his passenger's death.

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hey you meant to say it hope you pay for what you have done i wish i could meet you i would give you a piece of mind i hope you dont have kids how would it feel to loose a kid to death i hope i dont ever see you on tv go rot in hell

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In my opinion anyone who drives drunk is a real "Jackass" and I'm not just referring to the show! If someone doesn't care about their own life, they should try to remember that the rest of us care about ours. I'm sorry the guy died. This event is tragic and should reinforce even more that drunk driving isn't acceptable!

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