An Olympic medal isn’t going to keep the press from asking about sexual misconduct!
Not long after winning his third gold medal in the men’s halfpipe at the Winter Olympics, Shaun White dismissed a question about the sexual misconduct allegations made against him in a 2016 lawsuit as “gossip.” Man, oh man.
White, who has been one of snowboarding’s most prominent athletes, was on cloud nine following his gold medal making run. However little did he know that, as he was competing, details from a lawsuit by a former drummer from his band, the Bad Things, resurfaced online.
ICYMI, Lena Zawaideh accused the Olympian of sexual harassment and said he refused to pay her wages after he fired her. The legal drama was settled back in May for an undisclosed amount.
When asked if the allegations might affect his reputation, White responded:
“I’m here to talk about the Olympics, not gossip and stuff. I don’t think so.”
As reporters attempted to get Shaun to offer up additional comments, U.S. Snowboarding and Freeskiing Event Director Nick Alexakos shut down the line of questioning. The American athlete was then whisked off stage, as he added:
“I have to get to the medal ceremony.”
Unsurprisingly, the #MeToo movement on Twitter was NOT about the praise for White’s big win or his laissez-faire response regarding the scandal. Get a taste of the backlash (below)!
As you cheer for @shaunwhite, consider these awful and graphic allegations of sexual harassment against him, including texts he admitted to sending. #MeToo https://t.co/4eitns7H3I @usatodaysports @USATODAY
├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ Christine Brennan (@cbrennansports) February 14, 2018
Woke up to this news! Here are some more words. Why isn├óΓé¼Γäót NBC talking about Shaun White├óΓé¼Γäós sexual harassment allegations? https://t.co/GBkVzfm4rC #MeToo
├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) February 13, 2018
I don├óΓé¼Γäót care if Shaun White wins all the gold medals in the world. He is not absolved of personal responsibility. #TimesUp #metoo https://t.co/Q19EamXa5I
├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ Murphy Ackerman (@murphyackerman) February 14, 2018
Our society is so messed up. Sadly, many people won’t care. He’s got talent, success and power. Bad behavior is rewarded as long as he stays on top. https://t.co/87UzORzZ2T
├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ Brenda Perlin (@BrooklynandBo) February 14, 2018
Yikes. Of course, the controversial snowboarder moved quickly to handle the bad press. While speaking with Today‘s Savannah Guthrie in Pyeongchang, Shaun apologized for referring to the allegations as “gossip.”
“I am 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. I was so overwhelmed and just wanted to talk about how amazing today was and share my experience.”
Guthrie tried to get him to further address the situation as she pressed him on the issue. Shaun danced around the topic, as he concluded:
“I’ve grown as a person over the years. It’s amazing how life works, and twists and turns and lessons learned. Every experience in my life I feel like it’s taught me a lesson and I definitely feel like I’m a much more changed person than I was when I was younger. I’m proud of who I am today.”
Huh. We’re not sure this is enough to dissuade his many critics!!
[Image via Instagram.]