Shaun White dismisses sexual harassment allegations as 'gossip,' apologizes

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"You know, honestly, here to talk about the Olympics, not, you know, gossip, so. but I don't think so", he said.

"I'm here to talk about the Olympics, not gossip and stuff", White told reporters during a press conference at the Olympics.

After all, NBC's entire broadcast was built around the concept of White as a person, not as a snowboarder, so why shouldn't the rest of the press feel free to ask questions in that same vein? Furthermore, when the International Ski Federation, the body that governs snowboarding, held a press conference about White's medal win, the moderator skipped over female journalists with questions, USA Today reporter Christine Brennan, who had her hand raised, told CNN.

He soon apologized for his comments during an interview on the Today show Wednesday morning.

"I'm truly sorry that I chose the word 'gossip, '" he said.

"It's incredible ... how life works, with twists and turns and lessons learned", White said.

In August 2016, Lena Zawaideh, the former drummer of White's rock band, Bad Things, filed a lawsuit against the athlete alleging he had "repeatedly sexually harassed and forced his authoritarian management style on her for over seven years [that she'd been with the group]", according to reports. She alleged White sent "sexually explicit and graphic images" to her via text.

"I feel like I addressed it", White said.

"It would mean the world to me to compete in skating", he said Wednesday afternoon in Pyeongchang.

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Ms Zawaideh said she went along with his behaviour because "she did not want to cause problems for the band or be terminated", the suit said.

Wednesday's gold medal run for the red-headed daredevil dubbed "The Flying Tomato" redeems his failure to reach the medals podium four years ago in Sochi, after winning gold in 2006 in Turin and the 2010 Vancouver Olympics to become the sport's biggest star.

The lawsuit included screengrabs of text messages allegedly sent by White asking about the haircut and suggesting she wear a provocative outfit.

While White's victory at the Olympics was widely celebrated, including by Tennis legend and feminist Billie Jean King, the #MeToo movement criticized the praise as misguided and called out NBC's lack of coverage of the allegations.

The filing also reportedly included the claim White stuck his hands down his trousers and forced Zewaideh to smell them, along with allegations of unpaid wages and demands about her appearance onstage.

White also said he's "grown as a person over the years" and is "proud of who I am today".

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.

Accordingly, White has apologized for brushing off the questions, saying he's "truly sorry" for minimizing the issue. I need you to know that I'm very confident and happy with my long hair, and that I'm not willing to cut it.

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