Celebrated movie critic Roger Ebert is in the eye of a storm after he said dead Jackass star Ryan Dunn drank, drove and died. Ebert is being skinned and brutalized on the Net by fans of Dunn and netizens at large for what is termed as an uncharitable comment about someone who died in a tragic traffic accident.
Controversies are not a novelty for Ebert, but this appears to be the mother of all. The following are some key details about the life and work of Ebert, as well the controversies he raked up in the past.
Ebert, a Pulitzer Prize-winning movie critic, suggested that Dunn was foolish to drink and drive and advised people not to let jackasses drink and drive.
Jackass star Ryan Dunn died in a traffic accident in the wee hours of Monday as his Porsche 911 GT3 flew off the road and exploded. Hours before his death Dunn had tweeted a photo himself, along with two male friends, having drinks. According to TMZ, Dunn had drunk at least three light beers and three shots between 10.30pm and 2.10am at Barnaby's of America bar.
Ebert sparked a controversy by tweeting a link to a news story about Dunn's death, adding: Friends don't let jackasses drink and drive. All hell broke loose on Twitter and blogosphere following Ebert's comment.
Ebert had stirred up a controversy by allegedly taking down the movie Kick-Ass which was otherwise doing well. Shall I have feelings, or should I pretend to be cool? Will I seem hopelessly square if I find 'Kick-Ass'morally reprehensible and will I appear to have missed the point?, Ebert wrote in an extremely critical and damaging review of the movie. He gave the Lionsgate film only a one-star rating.
Observers say Ebert's ratings have often clashed with the overall reception of movies. And he himself has said often his star ratings are meaningless if not considered in the context of the review itself.
He was in news again for wrong reasons when he blasted California teens who wore American flag apparel to school. He was roasted on Twitter. He written that Kids who wear American Flag T-shirts on 5 May should have to share a lunchroom table with those who wear a hammer and sickle on 4 July.
Those who hate him do so passionately and mercilessly. Their counter attacks have often become extremely personal and uncharitable.
An example of the flaying he got on twitter following the flag controversy was this. You know, @ebertchicago, I'm not as expert on flag etiquette as you. Tell me, which do I fly when you die of cancer?
Ebert is engaged in a long battle with thyroid cancer which has disfigured his looks and crippled his power of speech.
He was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer in 2002. A surgery in 2006, a section of his jaw bones was removed.
Infuriated by his comment on dead Ryan Dunn, one tweeter said: ... that jawless, crippled dumbass roger ebert is being really insensitive right now.
Dunn's long-time friend and associate Bam Margera led from the front in skewering Ebert for what was widely seen as an inappropriate comment.
I just lost my best friend, I have been crying hysterical for a full day and piece of s**t roger ebert has the gall to put in his 2 cents about a jackass drunk driving and [he is] one, f*** you! he tweeted, serving the veteran Ebert a mouthful.
Millions of people are crying right now, shut your fat f*****g mouth!, he added.
Hundreds of people joined him in ripping apart Ebert. You shouldn't drink and drive. But there is a time and a place for everything, and Roger Ebert's opportunistic pun was in very poor taste, tweeted DJ RHA.
Ebert was born in Urbana, Illinois, in 1942 as the son of an electrician. He burst into professional sphere in 1966 when he was hired as a reporter by Chicago Daily News after he impressed the editor with an obituary of writer Brendan Behan.
Ebert won the Pulitzer Prize in 1975, becoming the first film critic to win the honor. Later his movie reviews were syndicated to more than 200 newspapers worldwide.
He is a supporter of the Democratic Party, is known to use his Roman Catholic faith as a point of reference when commenting on movies, and is married to a trial attorney.