Shaun White took to his Twitter Monday to share a statement in which he apologized for his choice of Halloween costume after a photo of him dressed as the character Simple Jack from the movie Tropic Thunder surfaced and accrued massive amounts of criticism including from the Special Olympics, which deemed it “offensive.”
Over the weekend, the 32-year-old Olympic gold medalist posted the photo of himself dressed as the controversial character in a pair of overalls and a white undershirt. In the image, he appears to be wearing fake teeth as he is posing with mouth open while donning white face makeup and drawn on freckles. The photo has since been taken down, and followed up with the formal apology, The Hollywood Reporter reported.
“I owe everyone in the Special Olympics community an apology for my poor choice of Halloween costume the other night,” White said in the statement. “It was a last-minute decision. It was the wrong one. The Special Olympics were right to call me on it.”
The role, originally played by Ben Stiller in the 2008 film, was the target of a lot of controversy and criticism back then, the character made fun of an intellectually disabled man. In the film, the character was even referred to as the “r” word many times, as the Inquisitr previously pointed out.
In the Twitter thread in which White shared his apology, the Special Olympics thanked the athlete for apologizing and extended an invitation to White.
“Thank you @shaunwhite for listening to our community. You always have an invitation to shred with our athletes at #XGames Aspen!” the Special Olympics verified Twitter account wrote.
— E! News (@enews) October 29, 2018
After catching wind of the photo, the Special Olympics issues a statement slamming the Olympian’s choice to portray a character to offends his fellow athletes, as per the Inquisitr report.
“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.”
Though White’s post received widespread criticism, several people also responded to his Twitter post with the apology to defend White’s costume by slamming “sensitive” people for engaging in this sort of debate every year during Halloween.
“People are so sensitive LMAO it was just a costume, and it wasn’t even of a real person. I guess this means I can’t dress up as Freddie Krueger because that’s promoting murder, right? What else, can’t be an anime character because I’m American? Can’t be a Rugrat cause I’m 18?” one Twitter user wrote in White’s thread.