Facebook temporarily suspends Roger Ebert's account after Ryan Dunn tweets


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Roger Ebert’s Facebook account was shut down briefly this morning after people complained about his posts regarding Jackass star Ryan Dunn, who died Monday morning in a car accident along with his friend Zachary Hartwell after a night at a local West Chester, Pa., bar. “Facebook has removed my page in response, apparently, to malicious complaints from one or two jerks,” tweeted Ebert, “Facebook! My page is harmless and an asset to you. Why did you remove it in response to anonymous jerks? Makes you look bad.”

Facebook reinstated Ebert’s account after about an hour, and a spokesperson for the social network said the discipline action had been an error. Ebert had created a controversy yesterday when he posted about Dunn’s death, “Friends don’t let jackasses drink and drive.” Ebert’s tweet, which used Dunn’s show’s title as a pejorative, upset many fans, and after jousting with critics who thought his words insensitive, Ebert dedicated an entire column in his blog today to the issue, clarifying his thoughts in a way impossible when limited by Twitter’s 140 characters. “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 stands by his tweets, but he seemed to appreciate how they were perceived by Dunn’s mourning friends and family. “I was probably too quick to tweet,” he wrote. “That was unseemly.”

Read more:
Roger Ebert chides Ryan Dunn for drinking and driving: Too soon?
G4 takes Ryan Dunn’s show off its schedule

Comments (259 total) Add your comment
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  • ‘Lish

    I used to feel bad for R.E. Not anymore. HE’S the jackass. Insensitive pr!ck.

    • Rolo Tomasi

      As opposed to the guy who got drunk and killed someone else.

      • jayemeff

        Exactly. The deaths were tragic but if alcohol was a factor, they were totally avoidable. Drinking and driving kills. True.

      • mikeman

        since when is someone else’s bad behavior an excuse for others to act classless? i couldn’t pick ryan dunn out of a line up, i’m not a fan of jackass, but this was a classless move from someone who i think usually conducts himself with class. at least wait until toxicology reports, rather than publicly blasting someone who had died just hours earlier based on what tmz is reporting…

      • Rolo Tomasi

        @mikeman, how is it classless exactly. What he said is true.

      • Rolo Tomasi

        What if he killed someone in your family? I have a feeling your opinion would be different.

      • @Rolo Tomasi

        So he forced that guy to get into the car with him even though he was drunk? I don’t think so. Idiot.

      • Hugh Hefner’s Agent

        Talk about shooting the messenger. This dumb*ss smashed and cooked himself and his friend after a coupla. Yet Roger is somehow the bad guy.

      • Stash

        I agree with mikeman. The issue at hand is not Dunn’s conduct, it’s Ebert’s. If Dunn drove drunk, then that’s awful. But there are more appropriate ways to address the issue of drunk driving than tweeting about someone right after they’ve died, which is classless.

        @Rolo Tomasi: of course your reaction to a loved one (as opposed to a friend of a celebrity) dying would be different. And if someone from Hartwell’s family released a statement like that in the midst of extreme emotion, I’m sure the discussion surrounding it would be different.

        Ebert was being sensational and should be told that he was out of line.

      • Michael

        The only people concerned now are the loved ones of the men who died. Calling dead men jackasses sort of defeats the point. You can lecture dead men. The move was insensitive to a few families who are suffering at the moment.

      • Juke

        I lost a friend to a drunk driver. He was on his way to his pre-dawn job when a plastered party girl ran a light and slammed her car right into the driver’s side door. Of course, she walked away without a scratch. I think Mr. Ebert was right to point out the evils of drunk driving, but he shouldn’t have tried to do it via a venue as limited as Twitter.

      • Paul

        Drunk driving is waaaaaaay to accepted in this country that adores its’ alcohol and automobiles. As far as I’m concerned, anyone who gets behind the wheel while drunk is committing attempted murder. They should never be allowed to drive again… ever.

      • Tom

        He was right to tell kids not to drink and drive. It’s a good message.

      • Josh

        where exactly is the proof of him being drunk? because he was pictured having one drink 2 hours before the crash? please..

      • aaron

        If Dunn would have lived, he would be public enemy #1. It would be fair game to take aim at him. Because he also died in the crash (and he’s famous), everyone has a bleeding heart for him. If he was just some dirtbag drunk who killed himself and a family of 6, then none of you would say that your heart goes out to his family and friends. The bottom line is you were a fan of his work and you don’t like Roger Ebert because he made fun of your favorite movie in 1992. The only thing good that can come out of this is the people read tweets like Ebert’s and learn that it’s not smart to drink and drive. Roger Ebert isn’t the bad guy and “Facebook” needs to grow up.

      • elitistandwrong

        Ebert’s comment is not classless. The guy was a self-proclaimed jackass and was on a show titled as such. Ebert was using the guy’s own description of himself in a comment warning people not to drink and drive to avoid ending up as he did.

      • tequilababs

        I don’t think the RE comments on Twitter were ‘classless’ at all. It’s called Freedom of Speech. Is that not, in fact, what Twitter is for? He was voicing an opinion that, in MY opinion, is quite true! Even though his comments might have been premature, should Dunn not have had the smarts to not drink and drive in the first place? I know that Dunn’s family is hurting and in pain right now but I’m sure they realize that fact too.

      • Jeff

        Drinking and cancer kills!

      • Jeff

        Well, when Ebert dies we’ll be the first to make heartless comments about him.

      • Jobo

        Milkman, even if the wasn’t drinking he was driving over 100 miles per hour..don’t you get it how irresponsible and unconscionable his behavior was what about a little sympathy for those who have died due to these kind of judgment “mistakes”. Yes, nobody is perfect, we all have made mistakes but how many of those have cost a human life?

    • Trey

      @Lish – one guy gets drunk, gets behind the wheel of his car and kills himself and another person. Another guy says not to let your friends drink and drive. Now which one is the jackass again?

      • BFD

        So a guy who makes his living by being reckless and irresponsible kills himself and someone else and people point this out is bad? Really? Maybe more of his friends will stop being Jackasses for the fun of it. Personally, I think Roger Ebert was RIGHT ON TARGET!

      • Casper

        Could we wait for the toxicology reports before we all jump on the bandwagon to bad mouth someone who is a lost family member and friend?

      • Casper

        I get his intentions, but it was too soon to post it as a joke. Whether people like Dunn or not is beside the point, his family just lost a loved one. Preventable or not, he’s gone, and they need to process this. As well as his friends and fans

      • elitistandwrong

        @ Casper…Ebert’s comment was not a joke, it was a warning not to drink and drive. If he was your friend, then it’s too bad you lost a friend, but maybe you should have adhered to comments like Ebert’s and not let your friend drink and drive.

    • Ben

      So much for freedom of speech. Maybe he shouldn’t have injected the touch of humor, but the statement is essentially correct. People who drink and drive are gambling not only with their own lives, but the lives of innocent people around them.

      • Just me

        Speaking of injecting…I think this Ebert guy needs a few more botox injections in his face and lips! Shew!

      • @Just me

        Uhm, you realize that’s not Botox but instead the complete loss of the lower part of his face to cancer, right?

      • Jennifer

        Mr. Ebert lost his jaw to cancer. That’s why the lower half of his face looks like that.

      • Gfon

        Freedom of speech does not apply to private actors, such as Facebook and Twitter.

      • Stash

        Freedom of speech does not guarantee freedom from criticism… in fact, it basically ensures it.

      • FER

        Roger Ebert is HIDEOUS

    • wakeforce


      • reel_deal

        As far as I know Kingston wasn’t drunk when he had his accident, Dunn was, so this is apples and oranges

      • Jen

        Yes, but when Sean Kingston had his accident the people on this board were absolutely CRUEL and made numerous jokes about his weight, race and low level of fame. Now those very same readers want to martyr a drunk driver.

    • Brandon

      your a dink…Ryan is a loser for drinking and driver. Plus all those dumb ass things he did on Jackass put his life in jeopardy all the time. he was playing Russian roulette for years. only losers feel sorry for losers.

    • Brandon

      your a dink…Ryan is a loser for drinking and driving…and murding the passenger. Plus all those dumb ass things he did on Jackass put his life in jeopardy all the time. he was playing Russian roulette for years…he never appreciated the life he was given. only losers feel sorry for losers.

    • Shay

      Really? Myopic much? So, the real offender here is Ebert, not the jack-ss who got wasted, got behind the wheel of a car, and killed his friend? Sir, you’re not clever.

    • Nick T

      @Lish, you obviously did not read his article. He is old and luckily, wise. He knows what he is talking about

    • Lois

      Ryan Dunn got drunk and killed himself & someone else.
      Ebert wrote some words about stopping friends from drinking & driving.
      Which one is worse? The guy who got drunk and killed himself & someone else.
      Ryan Dunn had a drunk driving arrest after crashing another car & went to rehab. He knew what he was doing was illegal and dangerous to himself, his passenger, and anyone else that may have been on the road. But that didn’t stop him & now 2 people are dead. People should be upset that Ryan Dunn did such a horrible thing, rather than about Ebert wrote.

    • Caracticus

      No sympathy at all for this dead jerk. Everyone is LUCKY he decided to murder his passenger and kill himself in a secluded area. He could have run into another car head on, or mounted the sidewalk or ran through a crowd of people anywhere.



      Anything you do to make out drunk drivers as LESS of the S*ITBAGS that they are just makes the next S*ITBAG more likely to drink and drive.

      • Michael

        you guys are pathetic blaming ryan for this…you cant get mad at him for drinking seeing as though almost everyone does it, and when you drink you have just about no self-control over yourself, all he wanted was to have fun with his friends and I see nothing wrong with that. yeah he killed someone along with himself but it was an accident and nothing more then manslaughter. its not like Ryan and his friends knew that getting drunk would lead to a fatal car accident, your only putting blame on him because hes a movie start who hurt himself just to make people laugh. a little while ago a man in Ormond Beach was charged with manslaughter and sent to prison for giving a 14 year old drugs when he was drunk and killed him the next morning, THAT is a jackass, not ryan dunn.

      • Squishmar

        That is one of the most ignorant comments made here yet. First off, Ebert wasn’t making a negative comment about Dunn; he was blaming the people who let him drive in his condition. But, hey, since “almost everyone does it” why not just make it legal for the sake of “having fun” since you see nothing wrong with that. And you yourself said, “and when you drink you have just about no self-control over yourself”… well then, let’s ALL hop into 2,000 pound machines and drive 130 mph! It sounds fun. And finally, you said “its [sic] not like Ryan and his friends knew that getting drunk would lead to a fatal car accident”….well, maybe now some of his living friends DO know that. And Ryan SHOULD have known that. But–as Ebert was implying–certainly sober people around him should have known that and not allowed him to get behind the wheel. But, hey, like you said, he was at least having fun when he died! So there’s that bright side to look at.

    • andy

      actually Ebert seems to have been right…which makes YOU the prick

    • Shameless

      Roger Ebert wrote Beyond the Valley of the Dolls including the immortal line “This is my happening and it’s freaking me out.” Ebert is a badass of long standing and always cool in my book.

    • Helen

      Would you feel that way if Dunn
      had slammed into a loved one of
      yours and killed them?

    • Jack Straw

      Glad you don’t feel sorry for Ebert anymore- I am sure he doesn’t want anyones pitty. Plus he still does way more good in this world than most people.

    • sinicalgrl

      Why is what he said so horrible especially since he happened to be ever so right? I am a Jackass fan too but driving up to 140 mph with a BAC of almost .2 means that basically Ryan was a mobile weapon of mass destruction who could have killed any number of people besides himself and his friend. R.E. spoke the truth even if the timing wasn’t so great. As for you, liking someone doesn’t mean blind allegiance – Ryan messed up big time and he and his friend are gone forever which is tragic. We all make mistakes, alas this one is forever.

    • angie

      Yeah, sorry Lish, but a .19 alcohol level and killing another person pretty much qualifies as a “jackass”. Ebert was dead-on (no pun intended) right.

    • Ruby

      his a weird looking dude, whats wrong with his face?

      • JayNYC

        Ignorant much?

    • Tania

      Roger Ebert didn’t say anything wrong. He was dead on with his comment. He was making a point about drinking and driving. His blood alcohol level was 2x over the legal limit. I feel bad for his family and friends, not his moronic fans though. RD did this to himself. Unfortunately, he took the life of another passenger with him. Thank god he didn’t kill more along the way. His jackass move took his and someone else’s life and left their respective families in total grief.

    • Eric

      So what is so insensitive about being plain spoken and being truthful? Ryan Dunce and his passenger are both dead, thankfully no innocent people were killed by dunce’s malice action. As far as I am concerned this is Darwinism in action.

    • Sofia

      Truer words have never been spoken…

  • jamaca

    What right does facebook have to shut down ebert’s account for having an opinion? I find it more offensive that people are defending Dunn, saying “he only had a couple of drinks”. Excuse me, but beers and shots are not what you describe as light drinking. The fact is that the guy did drink and drive and unfortunately it lead to not only his death, but that of his passenger. If his moronic friends really cared, they would have called a cab for him instead of letting him walk out the bar door. Of course, that would require more than 2 brain cells and they probably all drive drunk regularly (as attested by Dunn and Margera receiving previous DWI’s)

    • megs

      I agree completely that RE has a right to speak his mind, but unfortunately, Facebook has the right to control itself and what content comes out of its platform. It sucks, but that’s the way the business works: they can choose not to be the means of Roger Ebert’s expression.

    • Lois

      @jamaca: “If his moronic friends really cared, they would have called a cab for him instead of letting him walk out the bar door.”

      Their guilt over not stopping him may be the reason why RD’s friends are so upset that Ebert said that friends shouldn’t let him drive drunk. A guilty conscience lashing out at a scapegoat.

      • Eric

        No great loss on society, if anything this is the end product of living a useless life.

      • pelicansnout

        Did RE actually SAY anythig, is that even possible..or, did it sound like Stephen Hawking’s robot voice?

  • Shellibelli

    his tweet was right on point, Dunn may have been drunk and may have killed himself and another person.

    However Dunn has family out there, and friends, people who love him. Do they need to read about what Ebert who has never ever met Dunn had to say about his death?? right now?

    • Rolo Tomasi

      Wow, Facebook is into censorship also. Just another reason I would never go back to Facebook.

    • Lois

      Ebert just made a comment about drinking and driving. It’s not like he said anything bad about Dunn. People on various websites have said far worse about Dunn than what Ebert said.

      • Lisa

        He made a pun based on what was given. Maybe it was an unfortunate accident, maybe he was intoxicated regardless, the message is appropriate for a guy whose target audience is highschool and college students who are likely to get drunk and drive. At bare minimum he had a drink before driving.

    • Eric

      This is a free society, if Dunce’s family and friends loved him as much as you implied, then why didn’t his friends stop him? “Hey Dunce you’ve been drinking for the last 3 hours, maybe we should call a cab?” Good riddance I have no empathy for a no good drunk driver.

  • Jason

    So much for free speech. And for the people who complain every time someone exhibits an opinion other than their own – grow up.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      If you have a different opinion the new term is: hater

    • Doublespeak

      You gotta love when people complain about free speech on a private corporations internet site.

      Yes all the troops died defending your right to not even understand how free speech works.

      • Jason

        I know exactly how free speech works, numbnutz. And now you can explain how Ebert’s opinion violated the terms of Facebook.

        Or was it that they caved to a bunch of whiney ass morons like yourself?

      • Squishmar

        Which troops are you referring to? Because the current wars have absolutely nothing to do with defending our way of life… unless you count only paying $4.00 a gallon for gas our way of life… which, I guess it is.

  • Tom

    Maybe the timing of his tweet was no the best, but Ebert’s message is an important one: if we see friends getting behind the wheel of a car while drunk, we should stop them. I think this controversy is bringing attention to a very serious matter.

    • Rolo Tomasi

      No, it’s so much better to pretend this didn’t happen so we don’t offend people.

  • Gon

    Twitter > Facebook

    • Kevin

      Face-to-face social interaction > Twitter

  • stebo

    Wow, censorship…. looks like Face Book has sold out….long live twitter….for now.

    • Lars

      Facebook CEO at G8 Summit yesterday: “You can’t isolate some things you like about the internet, and control other things you don’t.”

      • Jessica

        An individual company can – and should be able to do – whatever it wants. I don’t particularly think they should have shut down his page, but they have every right to do it. I also think drinking and driving is deplorable and seems to have resulted here in an entirely avoidable tragedy. I also think Ebert is a jerk.

      • kate

        Jessica you are the only person I have agreed with 100% well said! Good to know someone has a brain and a heart.

    • Eric

      Well who runs facebook these days?

  • Mae

    “It was intended as true.” – BULLTRUE on that roger.

  • Trey

    Wasn’t Dunn a member of the CKY Crew, aka, the Camp Kill Yourself Crew? I guess he got his wish. It’s a shame he had to take someone with him.

  • little vicky

    He was drinking and driving. He killed his passenger. He could have killed a fellow driver or a pedestrian. While any death is tragic, can we focus on the dangers of drinking and driving instead of the etiquette of tweeting? The last I checked, if you didn’t want to read something, you could choose not to. Roger Ebert is not a saint, but folks have to stop acting like the person who killed his friend by drinking and driving is one.

    • name

      I am no way agreeing that drinking and driving is okay to do, but I don’t think you can really say he killed his friend. His friend chose to get in the car with him, and last I read they didn’t know who was driving. And yes, again, it is wrong to drink and drive but he could have showed some more respect, or just kept his mouth shut all together. And I don’t think anyone is trying to claim Ryan Dunn was a saint, but he was still a person with many who loved him.

      • Trey

        If by some miracle, this self described jackass had survived, he’d be facing homicide charges, regradless of whether he was drunk. So let’s stop making him out to be some kind of a hero.

      • Lois

        I read that witnesses from the bar said Ryan Dunn was driving. He was going to drop his friend off at his home and then Dunn was supposed to meet up with the other friends someplace else.

  • justiceserved

    You drink & drive, you die. Any questions?

    • Troy

      …or you kill someone else.

  • Tcrab

    Roger…how exactly is your page on Facebook an asset?

    • Brandon

      stupid question. movie reviews etc. people use his facebook account to get good reviews and discussions about films etc. saves people money and time. what a dumb thing to say…

  • oliviersansau

    makes me hate facebook even more…

  • Brandon

    i would have said the exact same thing. when i heard that he was drinking (which does not surprise me) i thought. whatever…we dont need people like that driving and killing people. if you were a person that had a loved one or best friend die because of a drunk driver (such as myself) you would have no sympathy for him either. I do feel sorry for the mother and father etc. i just don’t feel sorry for him. he knew what the end result could be every time he got behind the wheel drunk. His choice.

  • Mia

    People that drink and drive are one of the the dregs of the earth. I am sorry but how hard is it to call a cab. I am sure we all have a story about how drinking and driving has caused tragedy in our lives. I mean, it is fair to say to wait until the toxicology reports to come out but I think it is brave and encouraging to have someone come out and say the truth. Drinking and driving is like playing Russian roulette but with others lives. I do not care if you kill yourself, but please don’t take others with you.

    • LOL

      Jackasses fear Ebert.

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