Shaun White joins the ever-growing roster of celebrities to apologize for offending people with an ill-conceived Halloween costume.
Controversy ensued for the 32-year-old snowboarder after he was photographed at a Halloween bash on the weekend attired as “Simple Jack”, the titular character in a faux film within “Tropic Thunder”; in the film, Ben Stiller portrays an actor to plays a mentally challenged man — badly — in an attempt to land an Oscar nomination.
While the 2008 comedy pokes fun at Hollywood stars’ shameless attempts at winning awards, taken out of context, White’s costume was not well received.
Among those who took offence: a rep for the Special Olympics, who issued a statement to TMZ pointing out that White, as a former Olympic athlete, should really know better.
“We are truly disappointed that Shaun White, an acclaimed Olympian, would choose this costume, which is so offensive and causes so much pain,” the rep told TMZ. “Disability is not a joke nor should it be a punchline. We hope that Shaun White and others learn that this just continues stigma, stereotypes, and discrimination.”
As the backlash grew, White apologized to those he offended, particularly those associated with the Special Olympics. “I owe everyone in the Special Olympics community an apology for my poor choice of Halloween costume the other night,” said White. “It was a last-minute decision. It was the wrong one.”
“The Special Olympics were right to call me out on it. They do great work supporting so many tremendous athletes and I am sorry for being insensitive,” White said. “Lesson learned.”
Stiller touched the controversy. He noted the backlash “Tropic Thunder” received 10-years-ago and how he stands by his apology for the offensive film. He also, however, stood by White.