For a Halloween party this weekend, Shaun White decided to dress up as Ben Stiller’s movie-within-a-movie character Simple Jack from Tropic Thunder. Obviously it didn’t go over well, and he’s apologizing for it now.
Simple Jack was a poorly-received, Oscar-baity movie made by Ben’s character about an intellectually disabled farmhand named Jack. The joke is Ben’s character tried too hard for a serious movie role that ended up being over-the-top and offensive. The r-word is also used quite a bit. Much like in Tropic Thunder, 32-year-old Shaun proved he too was going for the opposite of subtlety with his costume.
What the hell was Shaun White thinking?! pic.twitter.com/eSxX0XeJuC
— TMZ (@TMZ) October 30, 2018
Based on that awful makeup and wig, I’m guessing Shaun’s costume wasn’t the Hollywood version of Simple Jack, but the Simple Jack re-created by Ben’s character after being captured by the Flaming Dragon gang.
Shaun posted a picture of his costume to Instagram, most likely thinking he was about to ride a wave of praise and applause, but he didn’t. TMZ says it didn’t take very long for parents and the Special Olympics to voice how icky they thought Shaun’s costume was. The Special Olympics said:
“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.”
Shaun is a three-time Olympic gold medalist and people went after on Instagram as well, with one user writing: “I’m not sure if it’s worse that this is an actual movie or that you’d think it’s okay to mock individuals who have disabilities. It’s 2018, man.”
Someone must have tapped Shaun on the shoulder (whoever is responsible for the damage control in his life) and informed him that feuding with the Special Olympics isn’t a good look. Because Sean has deleted the picture from Instagram and issued the following apology instead:
“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 tremendous athletes and I am sorry for being insensitive. Lesson learned.”
Shaun claims he chose Simple Jack at the last minute, and he clearly should have taken a couple seconds to ask someone, anyone, if he should leave the house dressed like that. Well maybe not anyone. Megyn Kelly would have advised him against it, before adding: “I know you want to do Tropic Thunder – have you through of going as Robert Downey Jr’s character instead?”