A longtime film critic, Roger Ebert isn’t used to biting his tongue when something’s eating him, but the guy who turned “Two Thumbs Up” into a national catchphrase admits he was “probably too quick to Tweet” when he posted a highly controversial remark on his Twitter feed in response to allegations that Jackass star Ryan Dunn was intoxicated when he crashed his Porsche into a tree and perished in a fiery car crash in West Goshen Township, Pennsylvania early Monday.
A coroner’s report says Jackass daredevil Ryan Dunn and his passenger Zachary Hartwell, a 30-year-old Navy Seal, died from impact and resulting fire of the accident, which took place just outside suburban Philadelphia. Toxicology results will take four to six weeks to complete, but the Chester County Coroner’s Officer lists blunt force trauma and thermal trauma as the causes of death. Authorities believe speed may have been a factor in the crash.
Eyewitnesses tell TMZ.com that Dunn downed at least three light beers and three shots between 10.30 PM and 2.10 AM at Barnaby’s of America Bar on the morning of his death. Shortly before leaving the bar, Ryan Tweeted a photograph of himself enjoying a night out with pal Zac and another friend. Police reportedly had trouble identifying Hartwell’s body due to the horrific nature of his injuries. The picture has since been removed, but the info was all Ebert needed to light into the late Dunn on Twitter.
“Friends don’t let jackasses drink and drive,” Tweeted on Monday afternoon, posting a link to a news story about Dunn’s fatal crash. The message made the cinema pundit the target of fury from friends and fans of Dunn. It didn’t take long for Ryan’s griefstricken co-star Bam Margera to issue his own Tweet scolding Ebert.
“I just lost my best friend, I have been crying hysterical for a full day and piece of [expletive] roger ebert has the gall to put in his 2 cents,” Margera wrote.
Ebert’s Facebook fan page has also been flooded with angry comments.
“I only liked your fucking page to say that you’re an insensitive worthless hasbeen,” reads one post.
On Tuesday, Ebert wrote a blog expressing regret that his words offended so many people, but defending his position: “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. 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. “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.”
Do you think Roger Ebert’s “Jackass” comments about DUI and Ryan Dunn were inappropriate?