After winning gold, Shaun White couldn’t avoid a press conference question about former sexual harassment claims against him. Watch here.
Shaun White has been thrust into the spotlight amidst his epic Olympics run, and that means some demons from his past are also coming back to light. The pro snowboarder, who took home the gold medal for men’s halfpipe on Feb. 13, was accused of sexual harassment by Lena Zawaideh in 2016, and the allegations have been brought up once again over the last several days. Lena, who used to be a drummer in Shaun’s band, Bad Things, filed a lawsuit against the 31-year-old in 2016, in which she alleged that he sent her sexually explicit images, forced her to watch “sexually disturbing” videos and imposed a “strict regime” over her for seven years.
In May 2017, Shaun and Lena came to an undisclosed settlement, but that didn’t stop the subject from coming up at the Winter Games. During his post-win press conference, Shaun was asked if he thought the former allegations would tarnish his win. He seemed a bit uncomfortable with the question, and stuttered a bit through his response. “You know, honestly, I’m here to talk about the Olympics, not, you know, gossip,” he said. “But I don’t think so. I am who I am and I’m proud of who I am and my friends love me and vouch for me and I think that stands on its own.”
After videos of the press conference surfaced, Shaun, who is currently dating musician Sarah Barthel, came under fire on Twitter for his choice of words. A few hours later, he sat down with NBC for another interview, during which he apologized. “I’m truly sorry that I chose the word gossip,” he admitted. “It was a poor choice of words to describe such a sensitive subject in the world today and I’m just truly sorry. I was so overwhelmed with just wanting to talk about how amazing today was and share my experience.”
— CNN (@CNN) February 14, 2018
“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.” @shaunwhite on his remarks at news conference when asked about harassment case pic.twitter.com/5q9jyCL61m
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) February 14, 2018
HollywoodLifers, what do you think of Shaun’s response to his sexual harassment controversy?