Shaun White Wins Winter Olympics Halfpipe Gold In Pyeongchang

By Alex Michael For Daily Mail Australia

Published: 02:00 BST, 16 May 2018 | Updated: 11:39 BST, 16 May 2018

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During interviews, Shaun White comes off as charming and charismatic.

But, as was the case on Tuesday, his demeanour changes considerably when he's asked about sexual assault allegations made against him by Lena Zawaideh in 2016.

Speaking to The Sydney Morning Herald about an upcoming winter sports festival, the 31-year-old brushed off questions relating to the claims, replying: 'Life goes on.'

 'Life goes on': Shaun White brushed off the sexual harassment allegations made against him during an interview on Tuesday, after being criticised for dismissing the claims as 'gossip'

 'Life goes on': Shaun White brushed off the sexual harassment allegations made against him during an interview on Tuesday, after being criticised for dismissing the claims as 'gossip'

The guitarist and snowboarder reached an undisclosed settlement with Lena, 29, in May 2017. The case was subsequently dismissed and the terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Shaun was widely criticised for describing the allegations as 'gossip' during a press conference following his gold medal win at PyeongChang 2018.

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On Tuesday, he said: 'Life goes on. It's interesting to see what people focus on, but for me it has always been about the sport and about being the best person I can.'

He barely acknowledged the question, and did not address any of the claims directly.

'Gossip': Shaun was criticised for describing the allegations made by  Lena Zawaideh as 'gossip' during a press conference following his gold medal win at PyeongChang 2018

'Gossip': Shaun was criticised for describing the allegations made by Lena Zawaideh as 'gossip' during a press conference following his gold medal win at PyeongChang 2018

After Shaun crossed the line between lack of acknowledgement and flat-out downplaying the allegations at his Winter Olympics press conference, he returned to apologise.

'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 told the US Today show.

'I was so overwhelmed with just wanting to talk about how amazing today was and share my experience.'

Brushing it off: On Tuesday, Shaun said: 'Life goes on. It's interesting to see what people focus on, but for me it has always been about the sport and about being the best person I can'

Brushing it off: On Tuesday, Shaun said: 'Life goes on. It's interesting to see what people focus on, but for me it has always been about the sport and about being the best person I can'

On Tuesday, The Bad Things bandleader was far more enthusiastic when discussing Air + Style: a snowboarding, skiing and music festival he's bringing to Sydney's The Domain in August.

'Sydney is such a perfect place because down here everyone is so into athletics and sports, which supports snowboarding and skating,' he beamed.

With Shaun back in the spotlight at PyeongChang, details from the 2016 lawsuit filed by Lena - the former drummer in his band - resurfaced on social media.

Ducking the question: Shaun barely acknowledged the question, and did not address any of the claims directly. Pictured:  Lena Zawaideh

Ducking the question: Shaun barely acknowledged the question, and did not address any of the claims directly. Pictured:  Lena Zawaideh

The case: In a lawsuit, Lena said Shaun repeatedly sexually harassed her and forced her to watch vulgar pornography including dead animals and fecal matter

The case: In a lawsuit, Lena said Shaun repeatedly sexually harassed her and forced her to watch vulgar pornography including dead animals and fecal matter

In the lawsuit, Lena claimed that Shaun had repeatedly sexually harassed her and forced her to watch vulgar pornography including dead animals and fecal matter.

Court papers also alleged he made comments like 'Don't forget to suck his b***s' while speaking about Lena's boyfriend.

Sexually explicit text messages, as well as messages allegedly sent by Shaun condemning her haircut and suggesting she wear a provocative outfit, were also included in the filing.

The alleged texts: Sexually explicit text messages allegedly sent by Shaun were also included in the filing

The alleged texts: Sexually explicit text messages allegedly sent by Shaun were also included in the filing

Confession: Shaun has admitted to sending some of the texts, but asked for the case to be thrown out regardless

Confession: Shaun has admitted to sending some of the texts, but asked for the case to be thrown out regardless

Statement: 'Many years ago, I exchanged texts with a friend who is now using them to craft a bogus lawsuit,' he said in a statement via his attorney, Kerry Wright

Statement: 'Many years ago, I exchanged texts with a friend who is now using them to craft a bogus lawsuit,' he said in a statement via his attorney, Kerry Wright

After Lena refused to get the haircut, she said Shaun sent her a letter to inform her that she had been fired from the band.

Shaun admitted to sending some of the texts, but asked for the case to be thrown out regardless.  

'Many years ago, I exchanged texts with a friend who is now using them to craft a bogus lawsuit,' he said in a statement via his attorney, Kerry Wright.

Haircut: Messages allegedly sent by Shaun condemning Lena's haircut and suggesting she wear a provocative outfit were also shown in court

Haircut: Messages allegedly sent by Shaun condemning Lena's haircut and suggesting she wear a provocative outfit were also shown in court

Fired: After Lena refused to get the haircut, she said Shaun sent her a letter to inform her that she had been fired from the band

Fired: After Lena refused to get the haircut, she said Shaun sent her a letter to inform her that she had been fired from the band

'There is absolutely no coincidence to the timing of her claims, and we will defend them vigorously in court.'      

With the #MeToo movement coinciding with Shaun's victory in Pyeongchang, both social media users and journalists condemned the praise he was receiving for his achievements.

NBC was also criticised for deciding to feature the snowboarder heavily in commercials and marketing materials leading up to the event.

Criticism: With the #MeToo movement coinciding with Shaun's victory in Pyeongchang, social media users and journalists condemned the praise he was receiving for his achievements

Criticism: With the #MeToo movement coinciding with Shaun's victory in Pyeongchang, social media users and journalists condemned the praise he was receiving for his achievements

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Shaun White Wins Winter Olympics Halfpipe Gold In Pyeongchang

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Shaun White Wins Winter Olympics Halfpipe Gold In Pyeongchang

Shaun White Wins Winter Olympics Halfpipe Gold In Pyeongchang

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Shaun White Wins Winter Olympics Halfpipe Gold In Pyeongchang

Shaun White Wins Winter Olympics Halfpipe Gold In Pyeongchang

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Shaun White Wins Winter Olympics Halfpipe Gold In Pyeongchang

Shaun White Wins Winter Olympics Halfpipe Gold In Pyeongchang

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Shaun White Wins Winter Olympics Halfpipe Gold In Pyeongchang