Shaun White Dismisses Sexual-Misconduct Allegations Against Him as ‘Gossip’

Snowboarder Shaun White, who won his third gold for the U.S. on Wednesday, dismissed the sexual-misconduct allegations against him as “gossip” after he was questioned about them in a press conference after the event. The athlete settled a graphic lawsuit last year that accused him of groping and sending explicit texts to Lena Zawaideh, a female member of his rock band. However, when asked if the allegations would tarnish his legacy, White said: “I’m here to talk about the Olympics, not gossip and stuff. I don’t think so—I am who I am and I’m proud of who I am and my friends love me and vouch for me and I think that stands on its own.” When pressed further about the allegations, the moderator of the conference interrupted and urged journalists to only ask questions about White’s medal and performance. Hours later, White was asked to address the subject on NBC’s Today: “I’m truly sorry that I chose the word ‘gossip,’” he said. “It was a poor choice of words to describe a sensitive subject in the world today. I was so overwhelmed with just wanting to talk about the news today.” He added: “I feel like I’m a much more changed person than I was when I was younger.”