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- Shaun White won a third career gold medal at the 2018 Winter Olympics after a phenomenal performance in the men’s half-pipe snowboarding final.
- White broke down in tears after his tricks stunned the judges, who rewarded him with a nearly perfect score.
- But his celebrations were short-lived, as he was asked in a press conference after his victory to respond to allegations of recent sexual misconduct.
Shaun White broke down in tears Wednesday after adding a third Olympic gold medal to his trophy cabinet, but the celebrations were tempered after allegations from his past resurfaced.
In a press conference after the Pyeongchang Games’ men’s half-pipe final, in which White’s performance was so epic that the judges gave him a nearly perfect score, White was asked to respond to accusations of sexual misconduct made against him – and he dismissed the claims as “gossip.”
The allegations stem from a 2016 lawsuit from Lena Zawaideh, the only woman in White’s rock band, Bad Things. Zawaideh accused the snowboarder of sexual harassment, according to The Daily Beast.
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The website published the full legal complaint, where White is accused of sending “graphic images to Zawaideh of engorged penises.” He is also accused of forcing her to “watch videos sexualizing human fecal matter” and sticking “his hands down his pants” and trying “to make her smell them.”
At one point, White was accusing of saying “I’ll f—— slap you.”
White and Zawaideh settled in 2017, but the matter was brought up Wednesday during White’s interview with the media in South Korea.
“I’m here to talk about the Olympics,” he said.
You can watch the interview here:
Shaun White on if he thinksthe sexual harassment allegations against him will tarnish hislegacy: “You know, honestly, here to talk about the Olympics,not gossip.” pic.twitter.com/45I1DjTB2u
— USA TODAY Sports (@usatodaysports) February 14, 2018
Reporting from the same press conference, the USA Today columnist Christine Brennan pointed out that White – or the moderator of the media event, at least – fielded questions only from male members of the press.
Brennan said: “Shaun White just called the awful allegations against him ‘gossip’ in a press conference where no woman journalist was called upon though several, including me, had their hand up the entire time.”
Shaun White just called the awful allegations against him “gossip” in a press conference where no woman journalist was called upon even though several, including me, had their hand up the entire time. #MeToo
— Christine Brennan (@cbrennansports) February 14, 2018
In a later interview on the “Today” show, White apologized for his word choice.
“I’m truly sorry that I chose the word ‘gossip,'” he said. “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.”
White’s gold medal represents a historic 100th Olympic gold for the United States at the Winter Olympics.