White apologizes for comments on sexual misconduct lawsuit
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — Shaun White has apologized after dismissing the sexual misconduct allegations made against him in a 2016 lawsuit as "gossip" shortly after winning his third Olympic gold medal in the men's halfpipe today.
White has been the world's dominant snowboarder for more than a decade, winning gold medals in 2006, 2010 and again this year, completing a comeback after finishing fourth in 2014.
As White was competing, many on social media resurfaced the details from the lawsuit by a former drummer in White's rock band, Bad Things. Lena Zawaideh said White sexually harassed her and refused to pay her wages after he fired her. The lawsuit was settled in May for an undisclosed amount.
White was asked during a news conference if the allegations might tarnish his reputation.
"I'm here to talk about the Olympics, not gossip and stuff," he said. "I don't think so."
Reporters attempted to follow up about the lawsuit, but U.S. Snowboarding and Freeskiing event director Nick Alexakos shut them down.
White immediately left the stage following the conference while reporters continued to question him.
"I have to get to the medal ceremony," he said while being ushered away by Alexakos.
White later said on NBC's "Today Show" he used "a poor choice of words to describe such a sensitive subject."
"I'm just truly sorry," he said. "I was so overwhelmed with just wanting to talk about how amazing today was and share my experience."