Shaun White’s gold medal victory in the PyeongChang Olympics was one of the more emotional runs of the games so far. White entered his final run in the halfpipe event needing a perfect performance to pull off a win and delivered what one analyst named “the biggest run of his life.” Although it was great to watch White take home yet another gold medal, his win has rekindled interest in the snowboarder’s sexual harassment allegations.
According to Decider, White was accused of sexual misconduct in 2016 by the drummer of his own band, Lena Zawaideh. The musician claims that While sent her inappropriate texts and made her watch pornographic films. Zawaideh even went as far as filing a lawsuit against White, which was settled last spring for an unknown amount of money.
White has denied any wrongdoing in the case, though things got a little awkward when he was asked about the scandal after winning the gold medal.
“Honestly, I’m here to talk about the Olympics, not gossip,” White said. “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.”
The details of White’s sexual misconduct case are pretty disturbing. Not only did he reportedly send Zawaideh pictures of his penis, but he also made her watch clips of human fecal matter pornography. At one time, Zawaideh claims that White put his hands under his pants and forced her to smell them.
As the head financier of their rock band, Bad Things, White allegedly tried to impose his will over the drummer by making her wear revealing clothing during shows. After White failed to take home a gold medal in the Sochi Olympics, Zawaideh says that things only got worse.
Zawaideh claims that White became aggressive after Sochi, and she felt like it was only a matter of time before he lashed out and hit her. At one of their band practices, White allegedly acted like he was going to slap Zawaideh and threatened her with troubling remarks, like “I’ll f**king slap you.”
White has maintained his innocence despite all the rumors, but he did admit to sending Zawaideh the text messages. He claims, however, that the texts are being taken out of context and that the other allegations are wholly untrue.
Although White dismissed the rumors as gossip, he backtracked the following morning when he appeared on the Today show. White apologized for the gossip comment and assured everyone that he is a “changed man.” He also shared how he is proud of the person he has become over the years and does not want to dwell on the past.
Given everything that has happened this past year in Hollywood and elsewhere, White’s sexual misconduct scandal is not going to disappear anytime soon.
Shaun White’s band was founded in 2011 and released its first album back in 2014.