NBC may be peddling snowboarder Shaun White’s “comeback” story at this year’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, but the narrative is somewhat at odds with White’s recently resurfaced history of sexual harassment.
It recently came to light that White was apparently involved in a sexual harassment case in 2016 involving former bandmate Lena Zawaideh, who played drums for White’s band, Bad Things. Zawaideh sued White for sexual harassment, wrongful termination and nonpayment of wages, among other charges.
Some of Zawaideh’s complaints from the lawsuit are as follows, via The Daily Beast:
White sent sexually explicit and graphic images to Zawaideh of engorged and erect penises, forced her to watch sexually disturbing videos, including videos sexualizing human fecal matter, and made vulgar sexual remarks to her such as, ‘Don’t forget to suck his balls!’ when commenting on her boyfriend. At one point, White stuck his hands down his pants, approached Zawaideh, and stuck his hands in her face trying to make her smell them.” The offending texts sent by White also included arguably racist, explicit images of black men. The complaint further alleged that an intoxicated White attempted to kiss Zawaideh at a Halloween party in October 2010; “Another time, White put his buttocks directly in Zawaideh’s face. Still another time, White grabbed Zawaideh’s buttocks shortly after leaving practice for the day.
White would constantly refer to Zawaideh as ‘bitch’ and show her sexually explicit images and videos. For example, at one point, White yelled out to Zawaideh, ‘Hey, have you seen this video?!’ White then proceeded to show Zawaideh the ‘Shake That Bear’ video on his computer. ‘Shake That Bear’ is a disturbing video of a couple killing a bear and then having sex on top of it. Another time, White called Zawaideh over and forced her to watch ‘Church of Fudge.’ ‘Church of Fudge’ is a video where the viewer is subjected to hardcore porn involving a priest, a nun and fecal matter. This behavior made Zawaideh feel extremely uncomfortable. However, Zawaideh would acquiesce because she did not want to cause problems in the band or be terminated. Zawaideh was only seventeen or eighteen years old at the time. White was twenty-two or twenty-three years old.