Shaun White was euphoric Wednesday after capturing his record third Olympic gold medal. But when the topic turned to his past off the mountain, White’s demeanor quickly changed.
In a press conference following White’s victory in the men’s halfpipe final at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeonchang, a reporter asked the U.S. snowboarder about the sexual harassment allegations brought against him in 2016 and whether he thought the lawsuit could “tarnish his reputation.”
Here’s White’s response:
The reporter, Matt Gutman of ABC News, tried to follow up about White’s dismissal of the allegations as “gossip” but was denied by a moderator.
Lena Zawaideh, formerly the drummer in a band with White called “Bad Things,” made very disturbing allegations against the snowboarder in her 2016 suit, claiming White sent her pictures of erect penises via text messages and forced her to watch sexually disturbing videos. Zawaideh also accused White of making unwanted advances on her, becoming “increasingly hostile and threatening” and demanding Zawaideh make changes to her wardrobe, which she refused.
White admitted to sending the texts but denied the allegation claims. He and Zawaideh eventually reached a settlement out of court.
NBC avoided broaching the allegation topic in its coverage of White. The 31-year-old appeared on ABC’s “TODAY” show Wednesday morning to apologize for his use of the word “gossip.”
Thumbnail photo via Michael Madrid/USA TODAY Sports Images
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