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02/15/2018 12:07 am ET Updated Feb 15, 2018

Shaun White Called Out By Accuser's Lawyer For Minimizing Sexual Harassment

"Hopefully, before our country declares someone 'the best of the U.S.,' there will be investigation and due diligence."

A lawyer representing the woman who settled a sexual harassment lawsuit with Olympic snowboarder Shaun White last year called out the athlete for minimizing sexual harassment on the world stage. 

In a statement provided to USA Today, Lena Zawaideh’s attorney Lawrance Bohm said White’s comments were damaging to his client’s character. 

“Mr White’s comments, on the world stage, directly impugn the character of Ms. Zawaideh,” he wrote. “No woman wants to be called a ‘gossip’ or liar by the harasser.” 

The sexual harassment allegations, which were first filed in a 2016 lawsuit, resurfaced this week as White’s quest for a history-making gold medal in Pyeongchang heated up. NBC, the official broadcaster of the Winter Olympics in the U.S., repeatedly referred to him in promotional materials as “the best of the U.S,” prompting Slate to wonder why the network had been mum on the allegations.

Following his win on Wednesday, White was asked about the allegations during a news conference and dismissed them as “gossip.” He later walked back his comment, saying it was “a poor choice of words to describe such a sensitive subject in the world today.”

Zawaideh, a former bandmate, accused White of repeatedly sexually harassing her and sending her lewd text messages.

Her lawyer seemingly referenced NBC’s continued praise of White by referencing the tagline. “Hopefully, before our country declares someone ‘the best of the U.S.,’ there will be investigation and due diligence.” 

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