The Special Olympics issued a statement denouncing White’s actions after the three-time Olympic gold medalist posted a now-deleted Instagram photo of himself dressed as “Simple Jack,” a character with disabilities played by Ben Stiller in the 2008 movie Tropic Thunder.
“We are truly disappointed that Shaun White, an acclaimed Olympian, would choose this costume, which is so offensive and causes so much pain,” Soeren Palumbo, co-founder of the Special Olympics’ Spread the Word to End the Word Campaign, told the Huffington Post. “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.”
On Monday, White took to his social media accounts to apologize for the “insensitive” costume.
“I owe everyone in the Special Olympics community an apology for my poor choice of Halloween costume the other night,” White wrote. “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.”
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