Shaun White’s offensive Halloween costume was ‘Simple Jack’ from Tropic Thunder

Lena Dunham chats away outside of her hotel in Tribeca

There are so many constants every year. Every Halloween, at least one celebrity – and usually more like a half-dozen celebs – will choose a completely stupid and inappropriate Halloween costume. They’ll “wear” someone’s race or ethnicity as a “costume.” They’ll do blackface, or wear a Native American headdress. But this is somewhat new: Shaun White decided to dress up as a movie character for a Halloween party. The character: Simple Jack, from the movie-within-the-movie in Tropic Thunder. Ben Stiller’s character, Tugg Speedman, is famous for playing a “Simple Jack,” an intellectually disabled man.

Some would argue that within Tropic Thunder, the Simple Jack character was a high-minded – perhaps “meta” – commentary on actors making terrible career decisions. You have to remember, just a few years before Tropic Thunder was made, Sean Penn was nominated for a g–damn Oscar for I Am Sam, and the “Simple Jack” character felt almost like very specific commentary about Penn’s performance. But enough about film history – why did a current Olympian decide to dress up as Simple Jack for Halloween? Ugh. Everyone’s pretty disgusted:

Shaun White is under fire from special needs parents AND the Special Olympics over his Halloween costume — Simple Jack from “Tropic Thunder.” Remember, when the movie came out back in 2008, several disabilities groups blasted Ben Stiller and the flick for the character — an intellectually disabled man who is repeatedly referred to as the r-word.

Now, 10 years later … White thought it would be a good idea to trot out the costume for a Halloween party and people are pissed. In fact, a rep for the Special Olympics tells TMZ Sports …”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.”

Others have sounded off on Shaun’s IG page — where he posted the pic. “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 person wrote.

Another wrote, “You’re a real POS! 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!! Grow up you douche! #spreadthewordtoendtheword #specialolympics.”

[From TMZ]

I just feel like… we should be past this as a society. I’ll admit that I grew up in a generation that tossed around the r-word in casual conversation frequently, but hopefully we’ve all grown and stopped using that word, and we’ve stopped otherizing, denigrating and mocking the intellectually disabled at this point. It *IS* especially gross coming from one of the most famous and accomplished Olympians too. White eventually apologized, hours and hours after the photos came out. He posted this on his social media:

Eh. Incidentally, we learned earlier this year that White had been accused of sexually harassing a woman, Lena Zawaideh, in his part-time band. Lena Zawaideh had filed a lawsuit against White, and they had quietly settled the suit in May 2017. During the Olympics this year, White was asked about the woman’s claims of harassment and his immediate response was to minimize it by calling it “gossip.” The reaction was revulsion, across the board, and he had to come out a few days later and apologize. My point? Shaun White is pretty gross across the board, about many different things.

Shaun White during an appearance on NBC's 'Today Show'

Shaun White’s deleted Instagram, additional photos courtesy of NBC and WENN.

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20 Responses to “Shaun White’s offensive Halloween costume was ‘Simple Jack’ from Tropic Thunder”

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  1. Clucky says:

    He should have just said he was dressed up as Miley Cyrus when she had that bowl cut.

  2. Chaine says:

    It took him hours to roll out his “apology” because he was waiting on someone at his PR firm to write it. I don’t believe for a minute he is in any way sorry.

  3. Esmom says:

    I just spent the weekend at a college campus and the clueless, cruel douchebro segment of society is alive and well. It makes my heart hurt.

    • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

      Yeah, they’re not going anywhere.

    • Kitten says:

      Are you visiting colleges for your son or…?

      I love when people are like “it’s just a word!” as a defense. If it’s *just* a word then why is it so damn hard for you to stop saying it? It’s like basic sensitivity towards other is such a sacrifice, such a STRUGGLE these days. Ugh.

      • Missy says:

        When I was in elementary school and high school, I used the word a lot, around friends and in a joking way. I had heard it so much growing up, from siblings and cousins, never heard it used toward someone with an actually disability and I never really put the two together. It wasn’t until I was out of high school that I really started to understand the word and what it meant. I guess going to college in a big city is what made the difference. I started hearing the word used in a demeaning way. It was an easy word to drop from my vocabulary.

        Shaun white is a tool and needs to go away

      • Mel M says:

        @kitten-yes!! The STRUGGLE to have to find another word to insult someone or somthing, my gosh. If you really have to degrade something or someone there are a lot of choices out there. I too used to say it, I grew up in the 90s, but like Kaiser said I’ve grown and changed like people should and it happened before I had my daughter who has special needs. Some of my own family have a hard time not using it even in front of us and I’ve corrected them. Using it as an insult is always wrong

      • Esmom says:

        Hi Kitten, My older son is a freshman in college now (yikes). This was my first time seeing him in 8 weeks! He’s doing pretty well, both as a student and an athlete — he made one of their teams.

        But the party culture is depressing and distressing for him, he’d love to find some peeps who don’t live to party as the vast majority of his classmates apparently do. He’s already “lost” a couple friends to the greek system, where sadly the biggest douchebros seem to thrive. Sigh.

      • tealily says:

        @Esmom, he’ll find his people. It’s just a little harder because they aren’t the one’s partying on the weekend!

    • me says:

      @ Esmom
      Oh yes that “douchebro” mentality is alive and well for sure…the sad part is it’s not just alive and well on college campuses. A lot of those “douchebros” never grow up ! They are EVERYWHERE.

      I agree. I have never used that word and never will. I have zero respect for anyone who uses it, especially now a days when people really should know better.

      • Pamela says:

        “A lot of those “douchebros” never grow up ! They are EVERYWHERE.”

        Yep. Our President and members of the SC for starters. sigh…..

      • tealily says:

        Yeah, I’ve never used it either. Even when it was more socially acceptable it was still really sh–ty and wrong.

  4. Annika says:

    He’s a great athlete but I’ve always thought that he’s an idiot

  5. Veronica S. says:

    Simple Jack (along with RDJ’s blackface) works in the movie because it’s a satirical commentary on how Hollywood treats minorities – commodities that can be exploited for financial gain while seeing none of the revenue or benefits. Outside of that context, you just come across as a jackass.

  6. Aims says:

    I have two mentally disabled children. They have given me priceless gifts through out thier lives. They have taught me humility, patients, joy and unconditional love. The world looks at them at feels pity or maybe uncomfortable. The ones who make fun are the ones who are mentally disabled. I pity those who can’t get passed the superficial and look deeper into these incredible people. They have worth, they are compassionate and they deserve respect.

  7. sassbr says:

    Simple Jack out of context is offensive, but within the movie, it’s very clever and biting. The comments from those who are offended by that part of the movie are from those who didn’t see the movie or didn’t understand the movie. If someone dress up as that part of the movie though, it kind of just shows they think Simple Jack himself is funny and that also means Shaun White didn’t understand the movie.

    Meanwhile, I DID see an Ace Ventura costume this year, Ace Ventura with the hospital gown and tutu during the part of the movie where he pretends to be a football player with what we now know is CTE-and I DID laugh. Theoretically, that’s also offensive. But I laughed. I couldn’t help it. And that is not a very clever part of the movie or a commentary on anything, it was just Jim Carrey being silly.

  8. Molly says:

    Shaun White is trash.

  9. C-Shell says:

    Sigh. He’s deplorable. He was such a cute kid, a skateboard prodigy (I remember reading an article about him skateboarding when he was not much more than a toddler, New York Times? Washington Post? something like that) that it’s just sad that his talent didn’t evolve in his character as he grew up. D*mn.

  10. Gayle Griffindor says:

    Shaun is White trash.