Roger Ebert’s 5 Most Controversial Statements

Tuesday, June 21 by
 

Film critic Roger Ebert is taking a lot of flack for his controversial tweet in regard to the death of Ryan Dunn. Apparently, pointing out that drinking alcohol and driving over 100 MPH is a bad idea rubbed some people the wrong way. Granted, it was a dick move to post so soon after Dunn’s death. Dunn’s friend and Jackass costar Bam Margera said as much, replying “Millions of people are crying right now, shut your fat fucking mouth!” Even Ebert himself has apologized for the timing of the tweet. But aside from that, he is sticking to his guns on Dunn, maintaining that “he drank, he drove, 2 people died.”

Regardless of your feelings on the comment, you have to admire Ebert’s willingness to speak his mind. And it’s even more impressive, considering the man literally cannot speak. But due to his opinionated nature, Ebert has often found himself at the center of controversy (No, I’m not talking about the fact that he gave Phantom Menace four stars). And thanks to the advent of Twitter, it’s become even easier for him to stir up trouble. With that in mind, here are five of Roger Ebert‘s most controversial comments.

“Video games can never be art…”

You could almost hear the rage building in the hearts of gamers as they read the headline to Ebert’s infamous blog post, “Video games can never be art.” The post consisted of Ebert bashing a medium of which he knew nothing, and had no desire to learn about. The response was swift, and surprisingly cordial. According to Ebert, only a handful of the nearly 5000 comments were rude. Most were well thought out, constructive criticisms. Ebert went on to admit the stupidity of commenting on the subject given his complete lack of knowledge, although he still believes he is right. At least when he acts like a fool, he admits it.

Rush Limbaugh should be horsewhipped…

In the wake of the 2010 Haitian earthquake, President Obama urged Americans to make a donation to the Red Cross relief fund. So that people could easily find a link to the Red Cross site, it was posted at the official White House website, whitehouse.gov. Conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh called into question the need to visit the White House website in order to get to the the Red Cross, insinuating that money could be misappropriated, and those who donated could end up on the DNC’s mailing list. Ebert was outraged by the accusations, and commented in an open letter that Limbaugh “should be horse-whipped for the insult (he has) paid to the highest office of our nation.”

No American-flag shirts…

In May of 2010, Roger Ebert weighed in on yet another controversy that had nothing to do with film. At Live Oa High School in Morgan Hill, CA, five students were sent home for wearing American Flag tee-shirts and bandannas on May 5th (a.k.a. Cinco de Mayo) out of fear it would offend students who were celebrating their Mexican heritage. The move set off a firestorm of complaints in support of the kids who were sent home. Ebert disagreed with the support, tweeting that…

@ebertchicago 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.

His tweet set off a firestorm of its own. Reasonable objections to his position were drowned out by a swell of hateful replies mocking Ebert’s cancer and subsequent facial deformities. Ebert replied to those mocking his misfortune…

@ebertchicago Dear TeePee tweeters making fun of my cancer: You want ugly? For that you have to look at a mind, not a face.

“TeaBaggers”…

In case you haven’t already figured it out by reading the previous entries, Roger Ebert is a bit of a lefty. As such, he’s not big fan of the Tea Party movement. In one particular tweet, he referred to its members as “Teabaggers” and “nutjobs.” When confronted about using a pornographic term to describe his political opponents, Ebert claimed he had forgotten “teabagger” had a pornographic connotation. Critics pointed out that he had used the term in his reviews as recently as 1998. In all fairness, it’s possible Ebert forgot what the term meant, considering he spent the past decad fighting cancer and having his entire jaw removed.

The Huckleberry Finn controversy…

Earlier this year, Ebert decided to chime in on the decision of NewSouth Books to publish a version of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn with the word “nigger” completely removed and replaced with the world “slave.” As an ardent opponent of censorship, Ebert was none to pleased with the decision, and took to Twitter to complain, claiming he’d “rather be called a nigger than a slave.” Despite the context, it didn’t take long for the outrage to grow. Eventually, Ebert backtracked, tweeting “I’ll never be called a nigger *or* a slave, so I should have shut the **** up.” That’s a fair point. My only question is if you’re going to start dropping N-Bombs, why would you bother to censor an F-bomb?

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COMMENTS

  1. June 21, 2011 2:40 pm

    Xtlhogciao

    They referred to themselves as “teabaggers” for a long time in the beginning.


  2. June 21, 2011 2:40 pm

    Nunya

    the guy was an a$$hole. he made a living being an a$$hole for illiterate a$$holes. he drank, got behind the wheel of a car and fortunately only killed 1 other a$$hole.
    130 mph on a public highway.
    who wants to continue defending this completely selfish a$$hole?

    ebert is right. don’t pity the fu*ktard who killed himself and his fu*ktard friend. be thankful he didn’t kill an innocent bystander.


  3. June 21, 2011 2:40 pm

    Anonymous

    He made his living by contributing to one of the freshest brands of entertainment of the last decade. Yes, the pranks do sometimes involve the public but for the most part he made himself the subject of fun.
    I’m not condoning driving recklessly, just urging you to sit down and watch the show or movies before you make blanket statements.


  4. June 21, 2011 2:40 pm

    Nunya

    freshest brand of entertainment?

    I say mindless drivel for an emotionally remedial and culturally stunted and undereducated society.

    sit down and watch what, 3rd grade antics?

    you know what they did was low-class, low-brow and idiotic.

    seriously, you want to defend this as an art form?

    encouraging this kindergarten dropout is what got his friend killed. do you not get your part in all of this?


  5. June 21, 2011 2:40 pm

    Anonymous

    Wow, OK man this makes a lot of sense dude. Wow.

    http://www.web-privacy.no.tc


  6. June 21, 2011 2:40 pm

    thatryanguy

     What the hell are you talking about, Nunya? Crapping your pants, drinking your own piss and puking all over the place while on film is the highest possible form of art!


  7. June 21, 2011 2:40 pm

    Nunya

    ….in new jersey


  8. June 21, 2011 2:40 pm

    Eric Jackson

    Why, Roger, why?


  9. June 21, 2011 2:40 pm

    Eric Jackson

    Ebert or Dunn?


  10. June 21, 2011 2:40 pm

    Greystoke

    “Freshest brand of entertainment”

    That gave me a bigger laugh than any episode of Jackass ever did.

    Freshest?  Slinging feces and tripping people?  Even cavemen used to see things like that and say, “Monkeys did it first.”


  11. June 21, 2011 2:40 pm

    Anonymous

    Definitely low-brow and idiotic but presented in an ENTERTAINING way, not artistic. I’m not hanging it next to Robert Mapplethorpe.
    The show and films had an inventive and outrageous quality that grabbed everyone’s attention and raised the bar on hidden camera comedy (which had grown very stale).
    The point is to laugh it at. But you’re clearly not the audience for this type of comedy.


  12. June 21, 2011 2:40 pm

    Gregroshon

    he made a living doing retarded stunts, and people loved it, they made 3 movies, and people loved them…if you had a Porsche 911 gt3, you would run 130 on a public road too. IF this were any normal guy, who didn’t have a career doing crazy stuff on T.V. then nobody would care.


  13. June 21, 2011 2:40 pm

    Foofmonger

    Ebert is right in every one of these comments. Too bad the majority of people can’t handle the truth.

    Honestly, I’m surprised more of the Jackass cast isn’t already dead yet. 


  14. June 21, 2011 2:40 pm

    Popgoes Yourbrain

    I won’t comment on the social value of the Jackass crew… it’s pointless. If you like them, then you’ll defend them and ridicule the people who don’t. If you don’t, then you’ll ridicule them and the people who like them. This, ladies and gentlemen, is what is called a “vicious circle”.

    Anyways, I would venture to say just because Ryan Dunn’s and his friends unfortunate passing happened during a bout of Darwinistic stupidity in which, thankfully, no one else died, doesn’t mean it can’t also be tragic at the same time. 

    I now take you back to your regularly scheduled pointless debate. :)

    Oh, and yeah… I like Ebert. But I think even he, who makes such great use of technology, forgets just how powerful social media is. It allows for instant judgement. 

    So, Roger, the lesson is, “Think before you tweet!”

    Or you’ll end up a Weiner. ;)


  15. June 21, 2011 2:40 pm

    Popgoes Yourbrain

    I won’t comment on the social value of the Jackass crew… it’s pointless. If you like them, then you’ll defend them and ridicule the people who don’t. If you don’t, then you’ll ridicule them and the people who like them. This, ladies and gentlemen, is what is called a “vicious circle”.

    Anyways, I would venture to say just because Ryan Dunn’s and his friends unfortunate passing happened during a bout of Darwinistic stupidity in which, thankfully, no one else died, doesn’t mean it can’t also be tragic at the same time. 

    I now take you back to your regularly scheduled pointless debate. :)

    Oh, and yeah… I like Ebert. But I think even he, who makes such great use of technology, forgets just how powerful social media is. It allows for instant judgement. 

    So, Roger, the lesson is, “Think before you tweet!”

    Or you’ll end up a Weiner. ;)


  16. June 21, 2011 2:40 pm

    Abel

    Roger Ebert’s tweet had nothing to do with reminding people
    that drink driving is wrong,  for one thing we don’t need Roger Ebert to
    do anything other than to tell idiots what their opinion of a movie should be,
    second, he was obviously trying to make a joke because he wrote it as a pun.
    “friends don’t let jackasses drive drunk” (sarcasm incoming) oh, because
    Ryan Dunn was on a TV show called jackass and he died in a really irresponsible
    way, Ebert is a genius! And complete sociopath for using the death of a two
    human beings as a way to boost his twitter profile.

    I imagine Ebert spent the
    better part of his day coming up with his joke after he heard about Dunns death
    on Monday morning, and the best he could do is a pun which wouldn’t feel out of
    place for one of his movie reviews. I’m just glad Dunn got to live a great life
    even though he died at only age 34, he lived more than Roger Ebert would ever
    do in a million years. RIP

    BTW, to all the ‘people’ who are criticising Bam Margera for
    his tweet have clearly never lost a loved one, Bam and Ryan have known each other
    since they were kids.
     


  17. June 21, 2011 2:40 pm

    Abel

    Roger Ebert’s tweet had nothing to do with reminding people
    that drink driving is wrong,  for one thing we don’t need Roger Ebert to
    do anything other than to tell idiots what their opinion of a movie should be,
    second, he was obviously trying to make a joke because he wrote it as a pun.
    “friends don’t let jackasses drive drunk” (sarcasm incoming) oh, because
    Ryan Dunn was on a TV show called jackass and he died in a really irresponsible
    way, Ebert is a genius! And complete sociopath for using the death of a two
    human beings as a way to boost his twitter profile.

    I imagine Ebert spent the
    better part of his day coming up with his joke after he heard about Dunns death
    on Monday morning, and the best he could do is a pun which wouldn’t feel out of
    place for one of his movie reviews. I’m just glad Dunn got to live a great life
    even though he died at only age 34, he lived more than Roger Ebert would ever
    do in a million years. RIP

    BTW, to all the ‘people’ who are criticising Bam Margera for
    his tweet have clearly never lost a loved one, Bam and Ryan have known each other
    since they were kids.
     


  18. June 21, 2011 2:40 pm

    Cleatus Estes

    Cowards die many times before their deaths.


  19. June 21, 2011 2:40 pm

    Abel

    You make it sound like Ryan Dunn was the second coming of
    Hitler, he was in a TV show that you clearly didn’t like, so what? Doesn’t mean
    his family and friends have to have his irresponsibility showed into their face
    by some irrelevant old man, but i bet you didn’t even know Ryan Dunn existed
    until he died, as for the passenger, what exactly makes him a fu*ktard, is it
    the same thing that makes you one? I don’t get it. The fact that you could be
    so opinionated about something you know absolutely nothing about is almost as baffling  as the fact that 6 people pushed the ‘like’
    button after they read your post.


  20. June 21, 2011 2:40 pm

    Nunya

    I don’t expect you to get it


  21. June 21, 2011 2:40 pm

    Robert Chernik

    So, kids shouldn’t wear american flag t-shirts when they want to?…….In America???? Ebert is wrong and YOU are wrong. How dare you agree with that statement. This is America not Mexico.


  22. June 21, 2011 2:40 pm

    Robert Chernik

    So, kids shouldn’t wear american flag t-shirts when they want to?…….In America???? Ebert is wrong and YOU are wrong. How dare you agree with that statement. This is America not Mexico.


  23. June 21, 2011 2:40 pm

    Robert Chernik

    So, kids shouldn’t wear american flag t-shirts when they want to?…….In America???? Ebert is wrong and YOU are wrong. How dare you agree with that statement. This is America not Mexico.


  24. June 21, 2011 2:40 pm

    Robert Chernik

    So, kids shouldn’t wear american flag t-shirts when they want to?…….In America???? Ebert is wrong and YOU are wrong. How dare you agree with that statement. This is America not Mexico.


  25. June 21, 2011 2:40 pm

    Robert Chernik

    So, kids shouldn’t wear american flag t-shirts when they want to?…….In America???? Ebert is wrong and YOU are wrong. How dare you agree with that statement. This is America not Mexico.


  26. June 21, 2011 2:40 pm

    Robert Chernik

    So, kids shouldn’t wear american flag t-shirts when they want to?…….In America???? Ebert is wrong and YOU are wrong. How dare you agree with that statement. This is America not Mexico.


  27. June 21, 2011 2:40 pm

    AuGuySyd

    You may be right but a little compassion wouldn’t hurt. Without it you just sound self righteous.


  28. June 21, 2011 2:40 pm

    Auguysyd

    Abel, you sound like a complete tool. I’m pretty certain Roger Ebert isn’t motivated by his twitter profile and I would even bet money that he didn’t spend his morning wracking his brain trying to come up with his statement. Grow up.


  29. June 21, 2011 2:40 pm

    JaySin420

    Would you have any compassion if him and his friend survived and he ended up killing someone in your family?


  30. June 21, 2011 2:40 pm

    Auguysyd

    Is Ryan Dunn still alive in the wake of dead victims due to his drunk driving? Have I missed something? Or are you saying that we should base all reaction on what COULD have happened? The guy is dead. Your argument is ridiculous.


  31. June 21, 2011 2:40 pm

    Abel

    Nunya, do you seriously expect anyone to get why you hate someone you didn’t even know?


  32. June 21, 2011 2:40 pm

    Abel

    Well I’m pretty certain Roger Ebert DID all those things i
    said and I’m also willing to bet money on it, he knew it would cause controversy, this article proves that he consistently tweets controversial
    things to get attention, maybe the first time he did it was an accident but the following
    four times were on purpose because he knew the attention it would give him.


  33. June 21, 2011 2:40 pm

    Jaysin420

    Yea it’s pretty simple, I have no pity for people who drive drunk and nobody else in their right mind should either.


  34. June 21, 2011 2:40 pm

    Auguysyd

    You need to learn the difference between compassion and pity.


  35. June 21, 2011 2:40 pm

    Auguysyd

    I think someone who came so close to death would be more motivated by the truth than controversy.