Roger Ebert: 'Jackass' Tweet 'Unseemly'

Ebert says too quick to tweet about Ryan Dunn's death, but maintains it's true.

June 21, 2011, 9:50 AM

June 21, 2011— -- The controversy surrounding movie critic Roger Ebert's comments about Ryan Dunn's alleged drinking-related death has gotten uglier.

Amid an online outcry over his controversial comments about the death of "Jackass" star Dunn, who was killed when he crashed his car in eastern Pennsylvania June 19, Ebert's Facebook page was temporarily suspended today.

"Facebook has removed my page in response, apparently, to malicious complaints from one or two jerks," Ebert wrote on his Twitter account.

"Facebook! My page is harmless and an asset to you. Why did you remove it in response to anonymous jerks? Makes you look bad," Ebert continued.

Ebert's fans on Twitter were in an uproar. Facebook issued an apology and said the page was removed in error, and the page is now back up and running.

The Facebook incident comes a day after Ebert received a flurry of malicious responses on Twitter and Facebook to his hackle-raising tweet about the 34-year-old TV personality and amateur stuntman.

"Friends, don't let jackasses drink and drive," Ebert tweeted hours after Dunn and his passenger, 30-year-old Zachary Hartwell of West Chester, Pa., were killed.

Ebert declined ABC News' request for comment, instead referring to a blog he posted Tuesday defending his remark while offering his sympathy to Dunn's and Hartwell's families.

"I was probably too quick to tweet. That was unseemly," he wrote, saying he regretted that his tweet was viewed as cruel.

But, he added, "It was not intended as cruel. It was intended as true."

He cited Dunn's online photo of him drinking hours before his death and a report that Dunn had consumed three light beers and three shots before leaving a local tavern, Barnaby's, in West Chester.

Ebert also touched on the estimated 110 miles per hour at which Dunn was reportedly driving before the accident, posting a video of an interview with the mother of Bam Margera, Dunn's "Jackass" collaborator. In the video, April Margara says: "He drove too fast, and I yelled at him all the time about that."

As for using the word "jackass," Ebert said he wasn't using the word as a pejorative, as some have suggested, but rather as Twitter shorthand, referring to Dunn's association with the movie "Jackass."

"I thought that was clear," he said, "I note that Bam Margera uses the word "jackass" in the same way in his tweet.

But Bam Margera apparently didn't see it that way.

Soon after Ebert's tweet posted, Margera, tweeted "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."

Perez Hilton also took Ebert to task. "Everyone makes mistakes, and this is somebody's son," Hilton wrote on his website Monday. "Too soon, Roger."

But Ebert didn't back down. "Perez Hilton's readers agree with me and not with Perez about my tweet on Ryan Dunn. He drank, he drove, 2 people died," Ebert tweeted.

Initially, Ebert, a regular tweeter, posted the news of Dunn's death as: "Jackass" star Ryan Dunn, RIP. His Porsche flew through 40 yards of trees."

Moments later, however, he followed it up with the other ire-arousing tweet.

The accident is still under investigation by the West Goshen (Pennsylvania) Police Department. The initial police press release reported that the "preliminary investigation revealed that speed may have been a contributing factor to the accident."

TMZ reported that the crash was so violent that the Chester County Coroner's office was unable to determine if they died from the impact of the crash itself or from the fire that followed. Toxicology results to help determine the role alcohol played in the crash will not be released for 4 to 6 weeks, according to TMZ.

Dunn had posted a photo online just hours before the crash that showed him and two friends drinking at a local bar.

After the crash, the manager of the bar told CNN, "He didn't seem to be intoxicated at the time he left."

Dunn's passenger in the car, Hartwell, was not a member of the "Jackass" crew. But on IMDB he is listed as a production assistant on the second "Jackass" movie and is credited as "car stunt driver" on Bam Margera's 2009 movie "Minghags."

According to MTV, he was also an Iraq War veteran who had recently married.