Shaun White Accuser's Lawyer Slams Olympian for "Gossip" Comment
Lawrance Bohm, the attorney for the snowboarder's former band member Lena Zawaideh, said the remarks "minimized the problem of sexual harassment in this country."
The lawyer for the musician who sued Shaun White for sexual harassment in 2016 released a statement on Wednesday slamming the snowboarder's remark after his recent Olympic win that allegations against him were "gossip."
Attorney Lawrance Bohm of The Bohm Group, who represents White's former bandmember and harassment accuser Lena Zawaideh, said that White's remarks had "minimized the problem of sexual harassment in this country" and "impugn the character" of his client.
Bohm added that Zawaideh could not speak about her allegations or the outcome of her lawsuit because of "powerful forces at play" and that his client had been returning to her music career in peace until White made the remarks.
After White had won his third gold medal in the halfpipe competition in Pyeongchang, South Korea, reporters asked him whether the allegations from 2016 would harm his reputation. "I'm here to talk about the Olympics, not gossip and stuff," White responded. "I don't think so."
He later apologized to Today's Savannah Guthrie for calling the allegations "gossip." "I am 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 said. "I was so overwhelmed and just wanted to talk about how amazing today was and share my experience."
In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter later on Wednesday, Shaun White said, "Representing Team USA at the Olympics in a sport that I love is a true honor and I was thrilled to win Gold. I regret my behavior many years ago and am sorry that I made anyone – particularly someone I considered a friend – uncomfortable. I have grown and changed as a person, as we all grow and change, and am proud of who I am today."
Zawaideh, a former drummer for White's band, sued White in 2016, alleging that he had made lewd remarks to her and made her watch disturbing sexual videos. The suit was later settled. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
Read Bohm's full statement, below.
Yesterday, Shaun White used the word “gossip” to refer to the past sexual harassment lawsuit by his former drummer Lena Zawaideh, our client. There are powerful forces at play which prevent Ms. Zawaideh from speaking about the allegations and ultimate outcome of the sexual harassment case.
Before Mr. White made his comment, Ms. Zawaideh believed that this matter was in the past, and she was happy to put the situation behind her so she can focus on her blossoming music career. Unfortunately, by his recent comments and conduct, Mr. White has minimized the problem of sexual harassment in this country.
Mr. White’s comments, on the world stage, directly impugn the character of Ms. Zawaideh. No woman wants to be called a “gossip” or a liar by the harasser. Minimizing sexual harassment maximizes the harm to Ms. Zawaideh. Hopefully, before our country declares someone “the best of the U.S.,” there will be investigation and due diligence.
Feb. 14, 8:22 p.m. Updated with comment from Shaun White.