Shortly after profitable an Olympic gold medal on Wednesday, snowboarder Shaun White known as sexual harassment allegations in opposition to him “gossip” and mentioned they would not hurt his popularity.
The allegations stem from 2016, when musician Lena Zawaideh filed a lawsuit in opposition to him alleging extended sexual harassment whereas she was a drummer in his band, Unhealthy Issues. She later requested the lawsuit be dismissed and there have been reviews the 2 had settled out of court docket.
White, who has been competing within the Winter Olympics in South Korea, was requested about Zawaideh’s allegations throughout a press convention after his first-place halfpipe efficiency Wednesday. He responded by calling her claims “gossip” and declined to remark additional.
“I am right here to speak in regards to the Olympics, not gossip and stuff,” he mentioned in response to a query from an ABC Information reporter, who then adopted up by asking whether or not he felt the allegations would tarnish his popularity. “I do not assume so,” White mentioned.
“I’m who I’m, and I’m happy with who I’m,” he went on to say. “My pals, , love me and vouch for me and I believe that stands by itself.”
Different reporters tried to additionally ask him in regards to the allegations, however he shortly rushed off stage. The press convention moderator shut down additional questions, based on the Related Press.
Later, White spoke to the Right this moment present and apologized for his “poor alternative of phrases to explain such a delicate topic.” He continued: “I used to be so overwhelmed with simply wanting to speak about how superb right this moment was and share my expertise.”
“I’ve grown as an individual through the years,” he mentioned. “It is superb how life works and twists and turns and classes discovered. Each expertise in my life I really feel prefer it’s taught me a lesson. I undoubtedly really feel like I’m a way more modified particular person than I used to be after I was youthful. I’m happy with who I’m right this moment.”
The controversy stems from the lawsuit filed by Zawaideh in 2016. The lawsuit alleges sexual harassment, wrongful termination, and breach of contract in opposition to White.
Zawaideh later requested the lawsuit be dismissed. USA Right this moment reported that the pair reached an out-of-court settlement settlement in Could 2017.
The swimsuit claims White despatched specific and graphic photographs of “engorged and erect penises” to Zawaideh. She alleges he pressured her to observe “sexually disturbing” porn sexualizing human fecal matter.
Zawaideh, who was fired by White from his band in 2014, claims the snowboarder caught his arms down his pants after which thrust them in her face.
He additionally, based on the lawsuit, made “calls for” that she change her hair, outfits, and make-up for the band’s exhibits.
White has persistently denied the allegations. In 2016 he issued an announcement by his lawyer, calling Zawaideh’s accusations “completely bogus.”
“There may be completely no coincidence to the timing of her claims, and we are going to defend them vigorously in court docket,” he mentioned by a consultant.
BuzzFeed Information has contacted representatives for White and Zawaideh. Neither returned remark by the point of publication.
Rose Troup Buchanan is a reporter for BuzzFeed Information and relies in London.
Received a confidential tip? Submit it right here.