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'Tropic Thunder' star Ben Stiller supports Shaun White after his controversial Halloween costume inspired by the movie

·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
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Ben Stiller is standing by Shaun White.

The Olympic snowboarder sparked controversy over the weekend, when he dressed as Simple Jack, the disabled character portrayed by Ben Stiller’s actor character in Tropic Thunder. The 2008 action comedy depicts actors shooting a movie who find themselves in real-life danger in the jungle.

Ben Stiller walks the red carpet. (Photo: Arnold Jerocki/Getty Images)
Ben Stiller walks the red carpet. (Photo: Arnold Jerocki/Getty Images)

Even at the time of its release, disability advocates with the Special Olympics and other organizations condemned the movie, calling it out for mocking the disabled. Then-first lady of California Maria Shriver wrote a column in the L.A. Times decrying the film’s use of the r-word. Dozens protested the film’s premiere. The studio took down a website and movie trailer for Simple Jack as part of the marketing campaign for Tropic Thunder.

Stiller acknowledged the controversy then and now with a tweet on Tuesday.

Stiller supported White, who apologized Monday night. “I am sorry for being insensitive,” he wrote in part. “Lesson learned.”

The Meet the Parents star, who directed as well as starred in Tropic Thunder, also noted the backlash over his movie. He said that he’d apologized for the film when it was released. “It was always meant to make fun of actors trying to do anything to win awards,” Stiller wrote. “I stand by my apology, the movie, Shaun White, And the great people and work of the @SpecialOlympics.”

He spoke to another controversial aspect of the film, Robert Downey Jr. wearing blackface, in an August 2008 interview with Reuters. Stiller said he’d considered casting a black actor to portray a method actor in the vein of a Daniel Day Lewis or Sean Penn.

“A white guy playing this black role to challenge himself the most in a way that’s wrong-headed and going too far, to me that was the funnier idea,” Stiller said.

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