Olympian Shaun White accused of sexual harassment by San Diego woman

Posted at 10:26 PM, Aug 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-17 01:26:55-04

A Carlsbad woman is suing two-time Olympic Gold medalist Shaun White.

Lena Zawaideh met White after he had already won his first Olympics. 

Soon after, she founded the band "Bad Things" along with White, serving as the drummer from 2008 until 2014.

During that time, she claims she learned the darker side of White.

"It's not a matter of friends and she said, he said,” said Zawaideh. 

Zawaideh, the only female member in Bad Things, claims White sent her sexually explicit and graphic images, forced her to watch sexually disturbing videos and made vulgar sexual remarks when commenting on her boyfriend. 

"People may see ‘oh she was one of the guys, she was in the band.’ In this context, it doesn't matter,” said Zawaideh. “I was contractually an employee and under no circumstance is it ok for an employee to treat a woman the way he did."

She says over the years, White's comments got worse.

“Everything he started doing was incredibly twisted and perverse,” said Zawaideh.

Then, she claims she noticed an even bigger change in White after he lost the last Olympics.

“He started getting more volatile and angry and I constantly felt extremely uncomfortable around him,” added Zawaideh.

She also claims White demanded that she cut her hair, and avoid wearing lipstick - her own personal signature. And, he allegedly asked her to wear sexually revealing clothes and underwear. 

She says he also hasn't paid her nearly $30,000 for her work in the band in 2014. 

"I don't think controlling and manipulative behavior is appropriate in the work place,” said Zawaideh. 

White, born in San Diego, was living in the county during the time of the allegations. He’s known as an Olympian, X Games Legend, winner of 10 ESPY Awards and the face of modern extreme sports.

White released the following statement through his attorneys. 

"Many years ago, I exchanged texts with a friend who is now using them to craft a bogus lawsuit. There is absolutely no coincidence to the timing of her claims, and we will defend them vigorously in court."

Zawaideh’s attorneys filed the lawsuit in San Diego County’s Superior Court of California. A judge hasn’t set a court date yet.