Has the much-loved and admired film critic become one of the bad guys he usually writes about?
Roger Ebert has weighed in on the death of Jackass star Ryan Dunn, after the allegations that the 34-year old drank beer and shots hours before his fatal accident. Ebert tweeted, “Friends don’t let jackasses drink and drive.”
Dunn’s former co-star, Bam Margera, has reacted angrily to the comment, taking to his Twitter account late Monday, to exclaim, “I just lost my best friend, I have been crying hysterical for a full day and piece of s**t roger ebert has the gall to put in his 2 cents about a jackass drunk driving and [he is] one, f*** you!” Margera then added, “Millions of people are crying right now, shut your fat f*****g mouth!”
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Margera has received support from celebrity blogger Perez Hilton, who entered into the debate, calling Ebert’s remarks “in poor taste.” A piece on his site stated, “We certainly agree that driving after drinking is wrong, we think there’s no reason — especially RIGHT NOW — that anyone should be pointing fingers or poking fun at a truly tragic situation. Everyone makes mistake, and this is somebody’s son. Too soon, Roger.” Was it too soon? Not according to Ebert, who actually retweeted Hilton’s post, adding that, “Perez Hilton’s readers agree with me and not with Perez about my tweet on Ryan Dunn. He drank, he drove, 2 people died.”
It’s clearly a sensitive subject, and the details of the death are particularly grim: NBC Philadelphia has reported that Dunn was so badly burned that he could only be identified by his tattoos (his car was engulfed in flames). TMZ reported that the Chester County Coroner was conducting an autopsy to assess whether alcohol was involved. The Assistant District Attorney in Chester County, Patrick Carmody, told RadarOnline that the Dunn had previously been charged with a drunk-driving offense in 2005 (which was no longer on his record).
And now Facebook has stepped in, presumably in light of complaints against Ebert, to remove his page on the social network site (Ebert has already tweeted his displeasure and since noted that the page is back up). The debate will rumble on as to the extent that well-known users should discuss topics that, in the eyes of some, aren’t their business.
Perhaps Jackass leader Johnny Knoxville struck the most appropriate tone by both tweeting his tribute to Dunn (“Today I lost my brother Ryan Dunn. My heart goes out to his family and his beloved Angie. RIP Ryan, I love you buddy.”) before offering the following words of advice: “Please drive safe and wear your seat belt. Ryan Dunn will be missed. God bless.” (via Daily Mail)