Roger Ebert’s Facebook account was shut down briefly this morning after people complained about his posts regarding Jackass star Ryan Dunn, who died Monday morning in a car accident along with his friend Zachary Hartwell after a night at a local West Chester, Pa., bar. “Facebook has removed my page in response, apparently, to malicious complaints from one or two jerks,” tweeted Ebert, “Facebook! My page is harmless and an asset to you. Why did you remove it in response to anonymous jerks? Makes you look bad.”
Facebook reinstated Ebert’s account after about an hour, and a spokesperson for the social network said the discipline action had been an error.
Ebert had created a controversy yesterday when he posted about Dunn’s death, “Friends don’t let jackasses drink and drive.” Ebert’s tweet, which used Dunn’s show’s title as a pejorative, upset many fans, and after jousting with critics who thought his words insensitive, Ebert dedicated an entire column in his blog today to the issue, clarifying his thoughts in a way impossible when limited by Twitter’s 140 characters. “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.”
Ebert stands by his tweets, but he seemed to appreciate how they were perceived by Dunn’s mourning friends and family. “I was probably too quick to tweet,” he wrote. “That was unseemly.”