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Winter Olympics champion Shaun White brushes off 2016 sexual harassment allegations

During interviews, Shaun White comes off as charming and charismatic.

But as was the case on Tuesday, his demeanour changes considerably when he’s probed on sexual assault allegations made against him by Lena Zawaideh in 2016.

Speaking to The Sydney Morning Herald about an upcoming winter sports festival, the 31-year-old brushed off questions relating to the claims, replying: ‘life goes on.’

 ‘Life goes on’: Winter Olympics champion Shaun White brushes off 2016 sexual harassment allegations after being criticised for dismissing the claims as ‘gossip’… despite settling the suit for a ‘undisclosed amount’

The guitarist and snowboarder reached an undisclosed settlement with Lena, 29, in May 2017 – the case was subsequently dismissed and the terms of the settlement weren’t disclosed.

Shaun was widely criticised for labelling the allegations as ‘gossip’ during a press conference following his gold medal win at PyeongChang 2018.

On Tuesday, he offered: ‘Life goes on. It’s interesting to see what people focus on, but for me it has always been about the sport and about being the best person I can.’

He barely acknowledged the question, and did not address any of the claims directly.

'Gossip': Shaun was widely criticised for labelling the allegations made by former drummer Lena Zawaideh  as 'gossip' during a press conference following his gold medal win at PyeongChang 2018

‘Gossip’: Shaun was widely criticised for labelling the allegations made by former drummer Lena Zawaideh  as ‘gossip’ during a press conference following his gold medal win at PyeongChang 2018

When Shaun crossed the line between lack of acknowledgement and flat-out downplaying the allegations at his Winter Olympics press conference, he returned to apologise.

‘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,” he told the US Today show.

‘I was so overwhelmed with just wanting to talk about how amazing today was and share my experience.’

'Always been about sport': On Tuesday, he offered: 'Life goes on. It's interesting to see what people focus on, but for me it has always been about the sport and about being the best person I can.'

‘Always been about sport’: On Tuesday, he offered: ‘Life goes on. It’s interesting to see what people focus on, but for me it has always been about the sport and about being the best person I can.’

On Tuesday, The Bad Things bandleader was far more enthusiastic when discussing Air + Style, a snowboarding, skiing and music festival he’s bringing to Sydney’s The Domain in August.

‘Sydney is such a perfect place because down here everyone is so into athletics and sports, which supports snowboarding and skating,’ he beamed.

 With White back in the spotlight at PyeongChang, details from the 2016 lawsuit filed by Lena – the former drummer in his band – were resurrected on social media. 

Ducking the question: He barely acknowledged the question, and did not address any of the claims directly

Ducking the question: He barely acknowledged the question, and did not address any of the claims directly

The case: In the lawsuit, Lena said Shaun repeatedly sexually harassed her and forced her to watch vulgar pornography including dead animals and fecal matter

The case: In the lawsuit, Lena said Shaun repeatedly sexually harassed her and forced her to watch vulgar pornography including dead animals and fecal matter

 In the lawsuit, Lena said Shaun repeatedly sexually harassed her and forced her to watch vulgar pornography including dead animals and fecal matter. 

Court papers also alleged he made comments like ‘Don’t forget to suck his b***s’ while speaking about her boyfriend. 

Sexually explicit text messages, as well as messages allegedly sent by Shaun condemning her haircut and suggesting she wear a provocative outfit were also included in the filing.

The alleged texts: Sexually explicit text messages allegedly sent by Shaun were also included in the filing

The alleged texts: Sexually explicit text messages allegedly sent by Shaun were also included in the filing

Confession: Shaun has admitted to sending some of the texts, but asked for the case to be thrown out regardless

Confession: Shaun has admitted to sending some of the texts, but asked for the case to be thrown out regardless

Statement: 'Many years ago, I exchanged texts with a friend who is now using them to craft a bogus lawsuit,' he said in a statement via his attorney, Kerry Wright

Statement: ‘Many years ago, I exchanged texts with a friend who is now using them to craft a bogus lawsuit,’ he said in a statement via his attorney, Kerry Wright

After she refused to get the haircut, she said he sent her a letter to inform her that she had been fired from the band. 

Shaun admitted to sending some of the texts, but asked for the case to be thrown out regardless.  

‘Many years ago, I exchanged texts with a friend who is now using them to craft a bogus lawsuit,’ he said in a statement via his attorney, Kerry Wright.

Haircut: Messages allegedly sent by Shaun condemning her haircut and suggesting she wear a provocative outfit were also shown in court

Haircut: Messages allegedly sent by Shaun condemning her haircut and suggesting she wear a provocative outfit were also shown in court

Fired: After she refused to get the haircut, she said he sent her a letter to inform her that she had been fired from the band

Fired: After she refused to get the haircut, she said he sent her a letter to inform her that she had been fired from the band

‘There is absolutely no coincidence to the timing of her claims, and we will defend them vigorously in court.’      

With the #MeToo movement coinciding with Shaun’s victory in Pyeongchang, both social media and interviewing journalists frequently condemned the praise he was receiving for his achievements.

NBC was also criticised for opting to feature the snowboarder heavily in commercials and marketing materials leading up to the event.

Criticism: With the #MeToo movement coinciding with Shaun's victory in Pyeongchang, both social media and interviewing journalists frequently condemned the praise he was receiving for his achievements

Criticism: With the #MeToo movement coinciding with Shaun’s victory in Pyeongchang, both social media and interviewing journalists frequently condemned the praise he was receiving for his achievements



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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