Roger Ebert's Ryan Dunn Death 'Jackass' Tweet Provokes Criticism, Debate

UPDATE: Ebert has taken to his Chicago Sun-Times blog to explain, if not apologize, for his statements.

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....

What did I mean by that [his initial tweet, calling Dunn a jackass]]? I meant exactly what I wrote. I wasn't calling Ryan Dunn a jackass. In Twitter shorthand, I was referring to his association with "Jackass." I thought that was clear. I note that Bam Margera uses the word "jackass" in the same way in his tweet....

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?

To read the rest, click over to his blog.

PREVIOUSLY: Shortly after the sad news broke that "Jackass" star Ryan Dunn had been killed in a catastrophic car accident early Monday morning in Pennsylvania, the web took notice of his Twitter feed, to which he posted a photo of himself drinking with friends just hours before the crash.

While the police report did not indicate that drinking was a factor in the horrific crash -- speed, the report said, may have been a contributor -- movie critic and prolific twitterer Roger Ebert sent out a critical message that some are calling insensitive.

"Friends don't let jackasses drink and drive," he tweeted around 3 pm EST. The message was met with a barrage of push back, including from blogger Perez Hilton's site.

"We certainly agree that driving after drinking is wrong, we think there's no reason - especially RIGHT NOW - that anyone should be pointing fingers or poking fun at a truly tragic situation," the site wrote. "Everyone makes mistake, and this is somebody's son. Too soon, Roger."

Around 8 pm, Ebert responded, defending his comment and the remarks of commenters on Hilton's site, many of whom agreed with Ebert.

"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 wrote.

UPDATE: Bam Margera, Dunn's best friend and the "Jackass" and "CKY" co-star whose parents tearfully confirmed the death, lashed out at Ebert over Twitter late Tuesday night, ripping him for his comments about drinking and driving.

"I just lost my best friend, I have been crying hysterical for a full day and piece of sh*t roger ebert has the gall to put in his 2 cents," Margera tweeted. "About a jackass drunk driving and his is one, f*ck you! Millions of people are crying right now, shut your fat f*cking mouth!"

You can read the tweets of other celebrities, including some of Dunn's "Jackass' costars, in the slideshow below.