- Andreas Rentz/Getty
- Three-time Olympic gold medalist Shaun White came under fire for wearing a Halloween costume based on an intellectually disabled character from the 2008 movie “Tropic Thunder.”
- White posted a photo of himself in the costume to his Instagram feed.
- White quickly apologized and removed the photo from his feed.
- The Special Olympics extended an olive branch to the 3-time Olympic gold medalist and 14-time X-Games gold medalist, but others were reluctant to forgive him.
Snowboarder Shaun White has apologized after he attended a Halloween party dressed up as Simple Jack, an intellectually disabled character played by Ben Stiller in the 2008 movie “Tropic Thunder.” Throughout the film, Jack is routinely referred to using the R-word.
The three-time Olympic gold medalist posted a photo of himself to his Instagram feed and faced a near-immediate backlash from followers and the Special Olympics:
— E! News (@enews) October 29, 2018
“We are truly disappointed that Shaun White, an acclaimed Olympian, would choose this costume which is so offensive and causes so much pain,” a spokesperson for the Special Olympics told TMZ Sports. “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.”
Shortly after that, White removed the photo from his feed and issued an apology to the Special Olympics community:
“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 he shared on social media. “It was a last minute decision. It was the wrong one. The Special Olympics are right to call me out on it. They do great work supporting many tremendous athletes and I am so sorry for being insensitive. Lesson learned.”
For their part, the Special Olympics was quick to acknowledge White’s apology and extend an olive branch in the form of an invitation to X Games Aspen. The 32-year-old holds the record for the most X Games gold medals (14) in the history of the extreme sports event.
— Special Olympics (@SpecialOlympics) October 30, 2018
Many others were reluctant to forgive the 10-time ESPY Award winner.
— Genevieve Shaw Brown (@GSBrownABC) October 30, 2018
I feel like this apology should be addressed to a larger group than just those who called you out. Try actually considering who was affected by your choice and how. Thanks, management. https://t.co/Gn0kon1osI
— Haley (@doneone97) October 29, 2018