Shaun White has proved himself a worthy adversary in the 2018 Pyongchang Winter Olympics. The snowboarder has won three gold medals for Team USA. Despite making up for a rather disappointing competition at Sochi in 2014, not all of the press surrounding White has been positive.
After winning his third gold medal, TODAY‘s Savannah Guthrie asked White about the sexual misconduct allegations against him. In 2016, one of White’s former band members, Lena Zawaideh, filed a lawsuit against the athlete. Zawaideh alleged that White sexually harassed her by sending her penis pictures and videos of scat porn, in addition to failing to pay her once she left the band. Um, ew. The suit was settled outside of court and White refuted the allegations.
Guthrie asked if White thought the allegations would reflect negatively on him, despite the victories. “You know honestly I’m here to talk about the Olympics not gossip … but I don’t think so,” he responded. Hmm, probably not the best way to phrase it. Then again, probably not the best time for Guthrie to ask about it, as White was expecting questions about snowboarding.
Now, White’s removed his foot from his mouth to apologize. White appeared on TODAY to clarify his words to Guthrie. “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,” he said. He elaborated on the matter, saying that he just wanted to talk about snowboarding and his win in that moment.
“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.” @shaunwhite on his remarks at news conference when asked about harassment case pic.twitter.com/5q9jyCL61m
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) February 14, 2018
Definitely not the best choice to call sexual misconduct allegations “gossip,” regardless of the timing.