Dear Mr. Ebert, Sorry I Was Such a Tool
Longtime admirer Will Leitch comes clean about insulting his hero
By M. Morris,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 1, 2010 6:16 PM CST
Roger Ebert, recipient of the Honorary Life Member Award, arrives at the Directors Guild of America Awards on Saturday, Jan. 31, 2009, in Los Angeles. At left is Ebert's wife, Chaz.   (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – As a University of Illinois undergrad, Will Leitch lived the dream: He befriended his hero, Roger Ebert. "I wanted to be him, desperately," Leitch writes. "He was the reason I did anything." They fell out of touch, and the protégé later found himself in New York in the early days of online journalism, riding high and writing a story headlined "I Am Sick Of Roger Ebert's Fat F---ing Face."

The piece "mercifully, is no longer online," Leitch writes for Deadspin, which he founded—though he's better known to the blogosphere as Buzz Bissinger's punching bag—and Ebert's response is the equivalent of a graduate-level course in taking the high road. When Ebert appears on tomorrow's Oprah Winfrey Show, "the center of the world at last," Leitch will be tuning in. "Ebert's a national treasure," he writes. "I couldn't be more ecstatic that so many people finally realize it."