Roger Ebert: Ryan Dunn comments spur Facebook backlash

roger-ebert-prosthetic.jpgOn Monday (June 20), film critic Roger Ebert -- an avid social media enthusiast -- found himself without a Facebook page after he made a controversial comment -- on Twitter -- about the death of "Jackass" star Ryan Dunn.

Dunn died early Monday morning after the Porsche he was driving slammed into a tree on a rural Pennsylvania road. A few hours before the incident, Dunn tweeted photos of himself drinking at a local bar. While the outpouring of grief from friends and fans swelled, Ebert reacted by posting a sober warning about drunk driving.

Friends don't let jackasses drink and drive.less than a minute ago via SocialOomph Favorite Retweet Reply


While the message was sensible it was also, perhaps, ill-timed on Ebert's part. Outraged "Jackass" fans took to the critic's Facebook page to berate him for criticizing Dunn. Then, suddenly, the page was just gone. In its place was a message stating it had been removed for violating Facebook's terms of use.

Was it taken down to chastise Ebert or to stem the tide of mostly unprintable (at least here) comments? 

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

And, less than an hour later, it was back online -- complete with nasty comments. According to a Facebook spokesman, "The page was was removed in error. We apologize for the inconvenience."

In one of the tamer messages left on Ebert's Facebook wall, one person wrote "Friends dont let fat a--es eat gravy fries!"

Bam Margera, fellow "Jackass" star, also took exception to Ebert's reaction, tweeting, "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. F--k you! Millions of people are crying right now, shut your fat f--king mouth!"

What do you think? Was Ebert out of line or right on message?

Update: In a new blog post, Ebert explains his motivation in writing the tweet. Despite admitting the timing may have been off, the film critic stands by his message:

"I don't know what happened in this case, and I was probably too quick to tweet. That was unseemly. 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?"
Photo/Video credit: Getty Images