Shaun White's Halloween Costume Blasted for Being Insensitive
While there's no shortage of celebrities in insensitive Halloween costumes — common sense seems to go out the window as soon as pumpkin spice season starts — TMZ reports that acclaimed Olympian Shaun White's choice hit all the wrong notes. Not only did he offend parents with special-needs kids, the costume even went so far as to catch the attention of the Special Olympics.
White opted for a character from Ben Stiller's film Tropic Thunder, which was already rife with offensive material, like Robert Downey Jr. in blackface. White didn't go for that costume, however, he chose to dress up as Simple Jack, a character that's repeatedly referred to as the r-word. The film may be 10 years old, but the offensive costume didn't go over well with many people. He posted the image to his Instagram, where commenters lit up the photo with simple explanations as to why this specific costume may have been a bad choice. The photo has since been deleted.
"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. #spreadthewordtoendtheword #rwordhurts," one Instagram user wrote.
"Really? At the expense of those who can’t defend themselves?? Hope you’re working on your lame apology speech...I know this will be deleted!!" another added. "Grow up you douche! #spreadthewordtoendtheword #specialolympics."
The Special Olympics released a statement in response, writing, "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."
After the Special Olympics's statement, White released an apology, TMZ reports.
"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." White said. "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."