Shaun White Apologizes to Special Olympics for Tropic Thunder Simple Jack Costume

Shaun White. Photo: Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

In one of those classic scenarios that makes you realize 2008 was one thousand years ago, snowboarder Shaun White apologized Monday to the Special Olympics after being called out for dressing up as Tropic Thunder’s Simple Jack, a mentally disabled character portrayed by Ben Stiller’s Tugg Speedman in a desperate bid for professional legitimacy. While Stiller’s Jack was intended as a send-up of actors portraying mentally disabled people as Oscar bait, the character was also criticized at the time by disability rights advocates. Because, well, yikes:

“We are truly disappointed that Shaun White, an acclaimed Olympian, would choose this costume which is so offensive and causes so much pain,” a Special Olympics representative told TMZ on Monday. “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.”

After feeling the backlash, White took down the photo from his social media and posted an apology in its stead. “I owe everyone in the Special Olympics community an apology for my poor choice of Halloween costume the other night,” he wrote. “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 White Sorry for Tropic Thunder Simple Jack Costume