Shaun White Apologizes After Special Olympics Calls Out His ‘Insensitive’ Halloween Costume

Olympic snowboarder Shaun White is apologizing now after he kicked up controversy this weekend by posting a now-deleted pic of his Halloween costume to his Instagram. 

A three-time gold medalist, White dressed as Simple Jack, based on Tropic Thunder’s movie-within-a-movie called Simple Jack (the title character of which is played by Ben Stiller’s Tropic Thunder character Tugg Speedman) and features a magnified offensive and insensitive portrayal of those with intellectual disabilities.

You can see him in costume below:

As you can imagine the backlash was swift and vocal online and included comments from Soeren Palumbo, Special Olympics’ senior director of global youth engagement and co-founder of  the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign, who said in a statement:

  “We are truly disappointed that Shaun White, an acclaimed Olympian, would choose this costume which is so offensive and causes so much pain. 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.”

It wasn’t long before White issued an apology and removed the offending post from his Instagram:

The Special Olympics were pleased with White’s reversal:

But people online still had a lot to say about the controversy:

Originally intended as a criticism of Hollywood’s use of the stories of disabled people as a way to garner awards (Jack was intended to parody movies like Forrest Gump, Rain Man, and I am Sam,) the film and Stiller’s over-the-top portrayal of Jack missed the mark of satire and instead angered many back in 2008, causing advocates to protest the film.

Stiller spoke out about the movie and White’s controversial Halloween faux pas yesterday on Twitter saying:

  “Actually, Tropic Thunder was boycotted 10 years ago when it came out, and I apologized then. It was always meant to make fun of actors trying to do anything to win awards. I stand by my apology, the movie, Shaun White, And the great people and work of the Special Olympics.”

H/T: HuffPost, TMZ, Twitter