Yesterday, soon after it was revealed that Ryan Dunn — star of the Jackass movies — had died in a fatal drunk driving accident, Roger Ebert took to Twitter to air his response: “Friends don’t let jackasses drink and drive.” Now, there are two interpretations here, obviously, and our first instinct — because Ebert is that lovable sourpus with the thumbs that we all know and love like our slightly deranged Uncle — is to think it’s just a play on words. Ebert wouldn’t actually call someone who had just died a jackass would he?
Actually, yes he would. Because he later defended those Tweets. In the interim, however, Bam Margera responded via Twitter (because clearly grieving should be done in 140 character increments): “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. … About a jackass drunk driving and his is one, fuck you! Millions of people are crying right now, shut your fat fucking mouth!”
I’ll be honest, if it were my friend — and even if he were stupid enough to be driving drunk and speeding at 110 mph — I’d respond similarly (hopefully, with better grammar). But Perez Hilton — because why not — jumped into the fray, calling Ebert insensitive, which he was. And now Ebert is stubbornly sticking to his principles here, writing “Perez Hilton’s readers agree with me and not with Perez about my tweet on Ryan Dunn. He drank, he drove, 2 people died.” True! He also retweeted someone else’s tweet, which said: “Hey @PerezHilton, I wish you were at the car crash where I nearly died and see me being insensitive towards the driver.” I don’t even know what that means. But OK.
And now, Facebook has even stepped in and (inappropriately) removed Ebert’s Facebook page for writing that “hateful, threatening, or obscene” content is not allowed. What? They can do that?
Look: Ebert’s being an asshole here, and I get that. He’s stubborn. After he was called on comments to the effect that video games could never be art, Ebert adamantly stuck to his position, even after hundreds of people — including our own Steven Wilson — proved how wrong he was. It’s in the movie critic DNA: You don’t apologize for bad judgement. You dig yourself deeper. Was Dunn being foolish? Of course. Should we speak ill of the recently deceased? Only if it’s Fred Phelps. Have some goddamn tact, Roger.
But, Facebook had no right to remove his page. Over this? When Sarah Palin put up the targets that some suggested led to the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords, did Facebook pull her page? Do you know how many horrible statements I’ve seen made on Facebook? Racist, homophobic, hate-filled remarks. And that’s just gp’s page. (hey-O!) It’s not in Facebook’s right to censor content. I understand they can do what they want because it’s their operation, but unless Ebert is perpetrating a crime or inciting a riot or encouraging real hate and not just being a miser, Facebook ought to stay the hell out of it. And everyone else should be respectful of the dead guy who acted like a jackass and killed himself and a friend.
EVERYONE IS WRONG.
Updated: Ebert makes nice. His FB account has not, however, been restored.