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Halfpipe triple gold medallist White calls harassment allegation "gossip"


T
Tony.xu
Published at: 2018-02-14

Shaun White dismissed the sexual misconduct allegations made against him in a 2016 lawsuit as "gossip" and hurried away from reporters trying to ask him more about the allegations Wednesday, just hours after winning his third gold medal in the men's half-pipe.

White has been the world's dominant snowboarder for more than a decade, winning gold medals in 2006, 2010 and again this year, completing a comeback after finishing fourth in 2014.

As White was competing, many on social media resurfaced the details from the lawsuit by a former drummer in White's rock band, the Bad Things. Lena Zawaideh said White sexually harassed her and refused to pay her wages after he fired her. The lawsuit was settled in May for an undisclosed amount.

White was asked if the allegations might tarnish his reputation.

"I'm here to talk about the Olympics, not gossip," 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.

White immediately left the stage following the conference while reporters continued to question him.

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

Phone calls and an email to Zawaideh's attorney from the lawsuit were not immediately returned.

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 Bad Things signed with Warner Bros. Records in 2013. The rock group released a self-titled album in January of 2014 and toured briefly.

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

American Olympic snowboarder Shaun White has apologised after referring to a sexual misconduct lawsuit filed against him in 2016 as "gossip" during a news conference following his historic gold medal in the men's half-pipe.

White issued the apology on NBC's "Today" show on Wednesday. He says he used "a poor choice of words to describe such a sensitive subject" and he's "truly sorry."

White won an unprecedented third half-pipe gold medal Wednesday. While he did, many on social media resurfaced the details from the lawsuit filed by a former drummer in White's rock band who said White sexually harassed her and refused to pay her wages after he fired her. The lawsuit was settled in May.

White was asked in the news conference if the allegations might tarnish his reputation and said, "I'm here to talk about the Olympics, not gossip and stuff."


Credit: AP

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