On Feb. 14, Shaun White sat down with Today show anchor Savannah Guthrie during the NBC morning show’s coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics. The 31 year old addressed the recently resurfaced sexual misconduct allegations — and wanted to clarify his previous statement calling the allegations “gossip.”
“I’m truly sorry that I chose the word ‘gossip’ because it’s a poor choice of words to describe such a sensitive subject in the world today. I’m just truly sorry,” he told Savannah alongside her co-anchor, Hoda Kotb. “I was so overwhelmed with just wanting to talk about how amazing today was and share my experience.”
In 2016, Lena Zawaideh — a former drummer in Shaun’s rock band — filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against him. She alleged that Shaun sexually harassed her while she was a member of their band. And according to Lena, refused to pay her after she left. The two parties later reached an undisclosed settlement.
Some users on Twitter were troubled by the athlete’s remark — and urged others to hold public figures to high standards. “As a survivor of sexual assault, it’s really disheartening to see all these celebrities and pundits that actively promote #timesup and #metoo praising Shaun White,” one woman explained. “I understand that people grow/change- but hold your heroes accountable. Don’t ignore the flaws for a gold medal.”
Shaun added that he knows who he is: “I am who I am and I’m proud of who I am and my friends, you know, love me, and vouch for me and I think that stands on its own.”
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