Shaun White refers to sexual assault lawsuit as gossip

  • Shaun White claimed his third Olympic gold medal after wins in 2006 and 2010
  • During the competition, details of 2016 lawsuit against him by Lena Zawaideh were rehashed online by angry members of the #MeToo movement
  • Former drummer in his band Bad Things had alleged he sexually harassed her
  • White said he wanted to talk 'about the Olympics, not gossip and stuff' after win
  • Later apologized to Today's Savannah Guthrie for using that language 'to describe such a sensitive subject in the world today'

By Associated Press and Abigail Miller For Dailymail.com

Published: 03:58 EST, 14 February 2018 | Updated: 09:33 EST, 14 February 2018

Shaun White brushed off a reporter who asked him about the sexual assault allegations made against him in 2016 - referring to the claims as 'gossip' - during a press conference after winning gold. 

White hurried away from the reporters trying to ask him more about the allegations on Wednesday, just after securing Team USA's 100th gold medal in Winter Olympics History. 

The 31-year-old has been the world's dominant snowboarder for more than a decade, winning gold medals in 2006, 2010 and again this year in an epic comeback after finishing fourth in 2014.  

Despite the impressive run, as White was competing the details from a 2016 lawsuit by a former drummer in White's rock band, the Bad Things, were resurrected on social media.

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

'I'm here to talk about the Olympics, not gossip and stuff,' the superstar snowboarder said. White is pictured knelt to the ground with overwhelming glee after winning this third gold medal in the sport 
'I'm here to talk about the Olympics, not gossip and stuff,' the superstar snowboarder said. White is pictured knelt to the ground with overwhelming glee after winning this third gold medal in the sport 

'I'm here to talk about the Olympics, not gossip and stuff,' the superstar snowboarder said. White is pictured knelt to the ground with overwhelming glee after winning this third gold medal in the sport 

The 31-year-old has been the world's dominant snowboarder for more than a decade, winning gold medals in 2006, 2010 and again this year in an epic comeback after finishing fourth in 2014.

Despite the impressive run, as White was competing the details from a 2016 lawsuit by a former drummer in White's rock band, the Bad Things, were resurrected on social media
Despite the impressive run, as White was competing the details from a 2016 lawsuit by a former drummer in White's rock band, the Bad Things, were resurrected on social media

Despite the impressive run, as White was competing the details from a 2016 lawsuit by a former drummer in White's rock band, the Bad Things, were resurrected on social media

Lena Zawaideh accused White sexually harassing her and refusing to pay her wages after he fired her. The lawsuit was settled in May for an undisclosed amount.

During a press conference just hours after his win, White was asked if the allegations might tarnish his reputation.

'I'm here to talk about the Olympics, not gossip and stuff,' he said. 'I don't think so.'

Reporters attempted to follow up about the lawsuit, but US Snowboarding and Freeskiing Event Director Nick Alexakos shut them down. 

And whether by coincidence or on purpose, not a single female reporter had a chance to ask White a question. 

Celebrating his history-making win in  Pyeongchang. In 2016 Lena Zawaideh accused White sexually harassing her and refusing to pay her wages after he fired her
Celebrating his history-making win in  Pyeongchang. In 2016 Lena Zawaideh accused White sexually harassing her and refusing to pay her wages after he fired her

Celebrating his history-making win in  Pyeongchang. In 2016 Lena Zawaideh accused White sexually harassing her and refusing to pay her wages after he fired her

White jumps during the men's halfpipe finals at Phoenix Snow Park. Whether by coincidence or on purpose, not a single female reporter had a chance to ask White a question during the post-win press conference
White jumps during the men's halfpipe finals at Phoenix Snow Park. Whether by coincidence or on purpose, not a single female reporter had a chance to ask White a question during the post-win press conference

White jumps during the men's halfpipe finals at Phoenix Snow Park. Whether by coincidence or on purpose, not a single female reporter had a chance to ask White a question during the post-win press conference

Speaking with The Today Show's Savannah Guthrie, White apologized for his language and nonchalant attitude about the sexual harassment claims
Speaking with The Today Show's Savannah Guthrie, White apologized for his language and nonchalant attitude about the sexual harassment claims

Speaking with The Today Show's Savannah Guthrie, White apologized for his language and nonchalant attitude about the sexual harassment claims

White immediately left the stage following the conference while reporters continued throwing questions his way.

'I have to get to the medal ceremony,' he said while being ushered away by Alexakos.

Speaking with The Today Show's Savannah Guthrie, White apologized for his language and nonchalant attitude about the sexual harassment claims. 

'I'm truly sorry that I chose the word gossip, it was a poor choice of words to describe such a sensitive subject in the world today, and I'm just truly sorry,' he said while clutching his gold medal. 

'I was so overwhelmed with just wanting to talk about how amazing today was and share my experience.' 

In the lawsuit, Zawaideh said White repeatedly sexually harassed her, forced her to watch pornography and told her how to get her hair cut. He is pictured just after the impressive win 
In the lawsuit, Zawaideh said White repeatedly sexually harassed her, forced her to watch pornography and told her how to get her hair cut. He is pictured just after the impressive win 

In the lawsuit, Zawaideh said White repeatedly sexually harassed her, forced her to watch pornography and told her how to get her hair cut. He is pictured just after the impressive win 

Praise for White's performance in Pyeongchang caught backfire on social media at a time when #MeToo and other movements are calling for more accountability about harassment and abuse. White is pictured at Wednesday's medal ceremony 
Praise for White's performance in Pyeongchang caught backfire on social media at a time when #MeToo and other movements are calling for more accountability about harassment and abuse. White is pictured at Wednesday's medal ceremony 

Praise for White's performance in Pyeongchang caught backfire on social media at a time when #MeToo and other movements are calling for more accountability about harassment and abuse. White is pictured at Wednesday's medal ceremony 

'Man Shaun White's career was really ruined by those sexual harassment allegations none of you remember from a mere year and a half ago,' Danielle Tcholakian, a freelance reporter, wrote on Twitter
'Man Shaun White's career was really ruined by those sexual harassment allegations none of you remember from a mere year and a half ago,' Danielle Tcholakian, a freelance reporter, wrote on Twitter

'Man Shaun White's career was really ruined by those sexual harassment allegations none of you remember from a mere year and a half ago,' Danielle Tcholakian, a freelance reporter, wrote on Twitter

User @Schpantzy said: 'Big congratulations on everyone on the USA team keeping the secrets of [White's] sexual harassment under wraps. Must feel good lauding your very own Harvey Winestein of snow [sic]'
User @Schpantzy said: 'Big congratulations on everyone on the USA team keeping the secrets of [White's] sexual harassment under wraps. Must feel good lauding your very own Harvey Winestein of snow [sic]'

User @Schpantzy said: 'Big congratulations on everyone on the USA team keeping the secrets of [White's] sexual harassment under wraps. Must feel good lauding your very own Harvey Winestein of snow [sic]'

In the lawsuit, Zawaideh said White repeatedly sexually harassed her, forced her to watch pornography and told her how to get her hair cut.

The lawsuit included screenshots of text messages allegedly sent by White asking about the haircut and suggesting she wear a provocative outfit.

Praise for White's performance in Pyeongchang caught backfire on social media at a time when #MeToo and other movements are calling for more accountability about harassment and abuse.

'Man Shaun White's career was really ruined by those sexual harassment allegations none of you remember from a mere year and a half ago,' Danielle Tcholakian, a freelance reporter, wrote on Twitter. 

User @Schpantzy said: 'Big congratulations on everyone on the USA team keeping the secrets of [White's] sexual harassment under wraps. Must feel good lauding your very own Harvey Winestein of snow [sic].' 


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