Shaun White can pull off a Double McTwist 1260 better than maybe anyone who has ever lived.
But the world famous snowboarder still needs help in the Halloween costume department.
On Monday evening, the athlete expressed regret and issued a mea culpa after dressing up this week as Simple Jack, Ben Stiller’s disabled character in the 2008 comedy Tropic Thunder.
The three-time Olympic gold medalist shared his outfit (below) on Instagram prior to making his statementm drawing a harsh rebuke from The Special Olympics in the process.
“We are truly disappointed that Shaun White, an acclaimed Olympian, would choose this costume which is so offensive and causes so much pain,” one of the organization’s cofounders, Soeren Palumbo, said.
Speaking to The Huffington Post, he added:
“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 image has since been deleted and White has now said the following in response to the backlash:
I owe everyone in the Special Olympics community an apology for my poor choice of Halloween costume the other night.
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 athletes and I am sorry for being insensitive.
Upon its release, once the depiction of Still’s controversial character was viewed by the public, Tropic Thunder was widely criticized and even boycotted by disability advocacy groups.
The movie repeatedly and excessively used the R-word to describe Stiller’s character.
In a statement to The New York Times in 2008, a spokesperson for DreamWorks Pictures said the film “satirizes Hollywood and its excesses and makes its point by featuring inappropriate and over-the-top characters in ridiculous situations.”
The company added that it did not intend to “disparage or harm the image of individuals with disabilities.”
This is a photo of Stiller in the role:
In this case, however, it looks like White’s scandal will be short-lived.
He acknowledged the mistake he made in dressing as Simple Jack and the Special Olympics then replied in appreciation.
“Thank you @shaunwhite for listening to our community.
“You always have an invitation to shred with our athletes at #XGames Aspen!” the organization wrote on Twitter.
Do you think White should have apologized in the first place?
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