Who is Lena Zawaideh? Woman who accused Shaun White of sexual harassment is a former bandmate

When asked about sexual harassment allegations after winning the gold medal, Shaun White said he wanted to focus on the current Games, not gossip.

In 2016, Lena Zawaideh sued Olympian Shaun White for sexual harassment and breach of contract.

Zawaideh and White later settled, but the allegations of sexual harassment have in many ways cast a shadow on White making history Wednesday when he won gold at the men's halfpipe competition at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

At a press conference Wednesday, White, who is the first person to win three gold medals in the sport, dodged a question about the sexual harassment allegations, dubbing them "gossip." White later apologized for calling the allegations "gossip."

But during a time of increased attention on allegations of sexual harassment and assault, many are wondering why Olympic coverage of the athlete has largely glossed over the allegations of sexual harassment. 

Here's a look at the allegations Zawaideh made against White. 

Who is Zawaideh? 

Zawaideh was the former drummer of White's rock band, Bad Things, which he founded and performed as the band's guitarist. She was the only woman in the group. 

Zawaideh said in a Page Six interview in 2016 that White harassed her consistently during the seven years they worked together. 

What did Zawaideh accuse White of? 

Zawaideh first sued White and his company in May 2016, alleging breach of contract for lack of payment of her $3,750 monthly retainer from September 2013 until August 2014.   

In August 2016, Zawaideh filed an amended complaint alleging White had also sexually harassed her, sending “sexually explicit and graphic images" to her, text messages White later admitted to sending.

What was in the text messages? 

Zawaideh’s said White sent her images of erect penises, forced her to watch sexually disturbing videos, including videos sexualizing human fecal matter, and made vulgar sexual remarks about her relationship with her boyfriend, according to the complaint, Slate reported.

How did White respond to the allegations? 

White vigorously denied Zawaideh's initial claims of sexual harassment, but admitted to sending text messages. 

“Many years ago, I exchanged texts with a friend who is now using them to craft a bogus lawsuit."

While White initially requested that the San Diego Superior Court require Zawaideh to undergo a mental health evaluation, he later reached an undisclosed settlement with his former bandmate.  

Contributing: Brent Schrotenboer, Christine Brennan, USA TODAY Sports.

© 2018 USATODAY.COM


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