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Roger Ebert regrets drink-drive comments after Jackass star's death

Hours after Ryan Dunn was killed in a car crash, the influential film critic tweeted ‘Friends don’t let jackasses drink and drive’.

Ryan Dunn in 2010
Ryan Dunn in 2010
Image: Vince Flores/UK Press/Press Association Images

FILM CRITIC ROGER Ebert has said he regrets tweeting anti drink-drive comments about Ryan Dunn’s death after his words sparked fury from the Jackass star’s friends and fans.

Dunn, 34, was killed early on Monday morning when his Porsche hit a tree at high speed on the outskirts of Philadelphia. His passenger Zachary Hartwell, 30, also died in the smash, which left the car a mangled wreck.

Soon after his death, Ebert appeared to call him a jackass, tweeting: “Friends don’t let jackasses drink and drive.” His words caused a furious reaction online, with Jackass co-star Bam Margera tweeting: “I just lost my best friend, I have been crying hysterical for a full day and piece of shit roger ebert has the gall to put in his 2 cents”. Blogger Perez Hilton also spread the story, calling Ebert’s tweet “extremely insensitive”.

Yesterday evening Ebert, who has been called “the most powerful pundit in America”, made an apology of sorts. He wrote on his blog that he was “too quick to tweet” and his comments were “unseemly”. He admitted that he had “no way of knowing if Ryan Dunn was drunk at the time of his death” – but added that the tweet “was not intended as cruel. It was intended as true”.

Hours before the crash, Dunn had posted a picture on Twitter that showed him apparently drinking with friends. The manager of the bar where Dunn spent his last hours has told reporters he “didn’t seem to be intoxicated” as he left. Ebert previously suffered from alcoholism, but says he has not had a drink since 1979.

Dunn is best known for a stunt in 2002′s Jackass: The Movie in which he inserted a toy car up his rectum, then went to hospital for an X-ray.

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Michael Freeman

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