Shaun White is facing a lawsuit filed by the former drummer for his band Bad Things, who claims the Olympic athlete sexually harassed her for many years and then didn’t bother to pay her.
According to Fox Sports, Lena Zawaideh played in the band with Shaun White in 2014, until she was ultimately fired. In the lawsuit, she claims White wrongfully terminated her and failed to fulfill her contract. But it gets much worse. Zawaideh has also accused the snowboarder of ongoing harassment, attempting to control her appearance, sending unsolicited and explicit photos and forcing her to watch pornography featuring fecal matter and animal cruelty.
Shaun White has responded to the allegations through his lawyer, admitting that he exchanged text messages with Zawaideh but denying her other claims. He also seemed to accuse her of filing the lawsuit just to damage his career and reputation.
“Many years ago, I exchanged texts with a friend who is now using them to craft a bogus lawsuit. There is absolutely no coincidence to the timing of her claims, and we will defend them vigorously in court.”
According to TMZ, Lena Zawaideh included a handful of text message screenshots in the lawsuit which seem to at least prove that Shaun White tried to micromanage her appearance, such as asking her to cut her hair and wear more revealing clothing. The texts show White scolding Zawaideh for publicly appearing in a fleece sweater instead of something more provocative and suggesting she wear a see-through shirt. When the drummer explained that she wasn’t comfortable with these changes, Shaun White supposedly insisted it was important to him.
Shaun White also allegedly sent his former band mate photos of “engorged and erect penises,” but it is unclear who they belonged to. On several occasions, the band leader allegedly forced Lena Zawaideh to watch extremely graphic porn “including videos sexualizing human fecal matter.” One of these was supposedly titled “Church of Fudge,” which the lawsuit claims to involve “a priest, a nun and fecal matter.” Perhaps most disturbing of all was a pornography Shaun White supposedly showed her of a couple killing a live bear, then having sex on top of its corpse.
But it doesn’t stop there. The lawsuit also claims Shaun White made inappropriate advances on his employee, including attempting to kiss her at a Halloween party in 2010 and putting his hands down his pants before forcing her to smell his fingers.
According to Billboard, the drummer also accused Shaun White of being a belligerent drunk who exhibited aggressive behavior while intoxicated. Zawaideh’s claims serve to paint a picture of Shaun White’s “darker, misogynistic personality,” and she has refused to back down from the accusations simply because he’s a world-renowned Olympic athlete.
“I am pursuing this case because women should not have to tolerate harassment at work,” she said. “Shaun White should not be allowed to do whatever he wants just because he is famous. Although I am embarrassed to have been treated this way, I cannot sit by and watch him do this to other women.”
In addition to the discrepancies with her employment in the band Bad Things, Zawaideh is seeking damages from Shaun White for the sexual harassment.
What do you think about the allegations against Shaun White? Do you think there is any truth to the claims? Has Shaun White only gotten away with the sexual harassment due to his popularity? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.
[Photo by Joe Scarnici and Theo Wargo/Getty Images]