- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 21, 2011

CHICAGO (AP) - Roger Ebert wrote Tuesday that he should have hesitated before tweeting about the death of “Jackass” star Ryan Dunn, a message that prompted an angry backlash and apparently led to the temporary removal of the movie critic’s Facebook page.

Dunn, 34, died early Monday in a fiery car crash in suburban Philadelphia. Police say speed may have been a factor in the crash.

Referring to a photograph Dunn had posted on Twitter early Monday in which he is seen drinking with friends just hours before the 3 a.m. accident, Ebert tweeted: “Friends don’t let jackasses drink and drive.” The photo has since been removed.

Ebert later wrote in a Tuesday blog post, “I was probably too quick to tweet. That was unseemly.”

The tweet from Ebert, a prolific user of Facebook and Twitter, prompted a landslide of posts, some profane, criticizing Ebert on his Facebook page.

“Jackass” co-star Bam Margera tweeted that Ebert’s response to the tragedy was insensitive.

“I just lost my best friend, I have been crying hysterical for a full day,” he said in a pair of angry, obscene messages.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning movie critic posted a message from Facebook early Tuesday saying his page was removed for violating the site’s terms of use.

Ebert responded, asking Facebook in a tweet: “Facebook! My page is harmless and an asset to you. Why did you remove it in response to anonymous jerks? Makes you look bad.”

A few hours later Ebert tweeted that his Facebook page was back online.

“The page was removed in error,” Facebook said in a brief statement. “We apologize for the inconvenience.” The social networking site did not explain which terms of use had been violated.

Ebert wrote in a Tuesday blog post that he wasn’t calling Dunn a jackass. Instead, Ebert said he was referring to Dunn’s association with the multimillion-dollar “Jackass” TV and movie franchise.

“It was not intended as cruel,” Ebert wrote. “It was intended as true.”


Online: https://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/

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