Shaun White is not taking the sexual harassment allegations made against him by a former bandmate lying down.
The two-time Winter Olympic halfpipe gold medalist is firing back at a lawsuit filed against him by Lena Zawaideh, the former drummer of White’s rock band Bad Things, calling the suit “bogus” and vowing to fight it in court
“Many years ago, I exchanged texts with a friend who is now using them to craft a bogus lawsuit,” White told TheWrap in a statement. “There is absolutely no coincidence to the timing of her claims, and we will defend them vigorously in court.”
Zawaideh filed her suit in San Diego Supreme Court last week, and the allegations aren’t pretty. The drummer accuses White of sending her graphic images of engorged and erect penises, as well as forcing her to watch disturbing videos, including clips that sexualized human feces.
On one occasion, the suit claims, White stuck his hands down his pants, then attempted to make Zawaideh smell his fingers by sticking them in her face.
The suit also claims that White, in an effort to “cut costs,” stopped paying his band members, including Zawaideh, in 2014.
“I am pursuing this case because women should not have to tolerate harassment at work. Shaun White should not be allowed to [do] whatever he wants just because he is famous,” Zawaideh said in a statement obtained by TheWrap. “Although I am embarrassed to have been treated this way, I cannot sit by and watch him do this to other women.”
The drummer goes on to claim that she was axed from the group and “was never told why she was no longer a member of the band.”
Alleging sexual harassment, wrongful termination and breach of contract, among other counts, Zawaideh is seeking unspecified damages.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.