Roger Ebert says 'too quick' to tweet about Dunn

CARYN ROUSSEAU - Associated Press
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In this photo taken Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011, Film critic Roger Ebert works in his office at the WTTW-TV studios in Chicago. Ebert's tweets about the death of Ryan Dunn have sparked an online storm that briefly caused the removal of his Facebook page. Ebert said Tuesday, June 21, 2011, that his Facebook page was removed after some complained about his comments. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

CHICAGO (AP) — Roger Ebert wrote Tuesday that he should have hesitated before tweeting about the death of "Jackass" star Ryan Dunn, a message that prompted an angry backlash and apparently led to the temporary removal of the movie critic's Facebook page.

Dunn, 34, died early Monday in a fiery car crash in suburban Philadelphia. Police say speed may have been a factor in the crash.

Referring to a photograph Dunn had posted on Twitter early Monday in which he is seen drinking with friends just hours before the 3 a.m. accident, Ebert tweeted: "Friends don't let jackasses drink and drive." The photo has since been removed.

Ebert later wrote in a Tuesday blog post, "I was probably too quick to tweet. That was unseemly."

The tweet from Ebert, a prolific user of Facebook and Twitter, prompted a landslide of posts, some profane, criticizing Ebert on his Facebook page.

"Jackass" co-star Bam Margera tweeted that Ebert's response to the tragedy was insensitive.

"I just lost my best friend, I have been crying hysterical for a full day," he said in a pair of angry, obscene messages.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning movie critic posted a message from Facebook early Tuesday saying his page was removed for violating the site's terms of use.

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

A few hours later Ebert tweeted that his Facebook page was back online.

"The page was removed in error," Facebook said in a brief statement. "We apologize for the inconvenience." The social networking site did not explain which terms of use had been violated.

Ebert wrote in a Tuesday blog post that he wasn't calling Dunn a jackass. Instead, Ebert said he was referring to Dunn's association with the multimillion-dollar "Jackass" TV and movie franchise.

"It was not intended as cruel," Ebert wrote. "It was intended as true."

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Online: http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/