Men’s halfpipe gold medalist Shaun White, of the United States, speaks at a news conference at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Rage – it’s all the rage in 2018. No one is safe from the rage mobs, not even Olympic champion Shaun White.
White came under fire this week from around the internet when he chose to dress as the character “Simple Jack” from the Ben Stiller/Robert Downey Jr. film Tropic Thunder – which is a hilarious movie about a bunch of arrogant actors who think the dangerous adventure they’re on is actually just a film set. If you’ve never seen the movie, “Simple Jack” is a character that Ben Stiller’s actor character played in a “fake” movie called Simple Jack. The gag was that Stiller went ridiculously overboard playing a mentally challenged character just to get an Oscar. It all happens within the world of the movie. “Simple Jack” is not real. He’s a character played by another character.
Regardless, Shaun White was forced to apologize for an “offensive stereotype”.
“I owe everyone in the Special Olympics community an apology for my poor choice of Halloween costume,” White, 32, posted on Instagram. “It was a last minute decision. It was the wrong one.”
The snowboarder was met with ire from commenters over the photo, which has since been taken down.
“You’re a real POS! Really? At the expense of those who can’t defend,” one Instagram user wrote, via a screenshot from the Huffington Post.
“Not only am I so incredibly heartbroken but so extremely disappointed,” penned another.
On Monday, a rep for the Special Olympics issued a statement to TMZ, saying: “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,” the statement continued.
White went on to say that he didn’t blame the Special Olympics for calling him out and again reiterated his embarrassment for being so insensitive.
The mentally challenged shouldn’t be turned into Halloween costumes. That most certainly is gross and offensive. However, the whole point of the “Simple Jack” character is that he isn’t a real representation of a mentally challenged person. He is a ridiculous, offensive, tasteless caricature meant to highlight the vanity and ignorance of the Hollywood elite. In fact, in the film it is Ben Stiller’s character who is made to look pathetic.
I mean, really…if you have to explain the joke.
Here’s the fake trailer from the fake movie within Tropic Thunder.
White didn’t seem hurt by the instant rage, so I won’t be either but I do find it alarming that anyone would look at that character and imagine it is meant to seriously portray our mentally challenged friends and family members. He is nothing like any mentally challenged person you would me…that’s the whole point.