Shaun White is being sued by the former drummer for his band Bad Things over claims of sexual harassment, bad business practices and failure to pay wages.
In a suit publicized Tuesday (Aug. 16), Lena Zawaideh accused the two-time Olympic gold medalist and X Games champion of sending her sexually explicit and graphic images, making vulgar sexual remarks and other crude behavior. The lawsuit also describes White as a hyper-controlling band leader, making demands on the way Zawaideh dressed, cut her hair and wore makeup. White also allegedly required his bandmates to travel with him during Olympics training and during a stint of several months when he wanted to live in New York rather than their Los Angeles base.
As well, it details and includes contractual agreements White — who plays lead guitar in Bad Things — demanded of his bandmates, threatening to fire them if they did not comply.
The suit includes select text messages from White to Zawaideh, in which White criticizes her dress and sends pornographic images in jest; TMZ posted images of those messages.
In statement released though attorney Kerry Garvis Wright, White said, “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 this vigorously in court.”
The suit also describes White as an aggressive drunk, detailing recurring aggressive behavior while under the influence of alcohol.
In 2014, the suit reveals White stopped paying his bandmates but when their day jobs interfered with practicing he later reinstated pay to all but Zawaideh, allegedly because he believed that she “did not need the money.” When she was fired later that year, she had not — and still has not — received her contractual retainer or pro-rata share of profits.
“I am pursuing this case because women should not have to tolerate harassment at work,” Zawaideh said in a statement. “Shaun White should not be allowed to do whatever he wants just because he is famous. Although I am embarrassed to have been treated this way, I cannot sit by and watch him do this to other women.”