Snowboarder Shaun White apologized on Monday for his choice of Halloween costume, after he was criticized for dressing up as “Simple Jack” from the 2008 Ben Stiller film “Tropic Thunder” over the weekend.
“I owe everyone in the Special Olympics community an apology for my poor choice of Halloween costume the other night,” White said in a statement posted to Twitter. “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. Lesson learned.”
White, a three time Olympic gold medalist, posted a photo of himself in costume on his social media pages, but took them down after the Special Olympics called him out.
“We are truly disappointed that Shaun White, an acclaimed Olympian, would choose this costume which is so offensive and causes so much pain,” a representative for the Special Olympics representative said in a statement to TMZ on Monday. “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.”
The comedy starred Stiller as an actor desperate for a comeback after his career was derailed when he played the main character — a mentally-challenged farm boy — in a fictional film called “Simple Jack” that bombed spectacularly. The joke mocked actors who play mentally challenged characters for awards juice, but it was also criticized by disability rights advocates at the time.