Shaun White apologizes for dismissing misconduct allegations as 'gossip'

Shaun White apologizes for dismissing misconduct allegations as 'gossip'

- in US

Olympic gold medalist Shaun White insisted he is a “changed person” on Wednesday when asked about sexual misconduct allegations leveled against him in a 2016 lawsuit.

“I’ve grown as a person over the years,” White said during an interview on NBC’s “Today” show, just hours after winning his third gold medal in the men’s snowboarding halfpipe.

“I definitely feel like I’m a much more changed person than I was when I was younger. I’m proud of who I am today,” White added.

The comments came as social media lit up with details from the lawsuit filed by a former drummer in White’s rock band, Bad Things. In the suit, attorneys for Lena Zawaideh said White “repeatedly sexually harassed her” and refused to pay her wages after he fired her.

The renewed focus on the allegations comes as the #MeToo movement and many activists are pushing for more accountability around sexual harassment and assault.

The lawsuit was settled in May for an undisclosed amount and no wrongdoing was admitted, according to The Associated Press.

In his interview on “Today,” White apologized for dismissing the allegations as “gossip” during a post-competition press conference.

“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,” White said.

“I was so overwhelmed with just wanting to talk about how amazing today was and share my experience,” he added, referring to his halfpipe run.

Image: Editor's Choice: 14 February 2018

Shaun White of the U.S. competes in the men’s halfpipe final on Feb. 14.