Lena Zawaideh: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

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Lena Zawaideh was the drummer for Shaun White’s band Bad Things. (Getty)

Lena Zawaideh was the drummer for Olympic snowboarder Shaun White‘s band Bad Things until she was fired in August 2014. Two years later, she sued White for alleged sexual harassment and claims she was forced to watch sexually explicit material when she was in the band. She also claims that the Olympic gold medalist only fired her because she wouldn’t cut her hair.

White’s star has continued to rise; he won another gold medal at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. The allegations against White resurfaced during the Olympics in various news reports. Of course, it’s a different era in light of the #metoo movement.

You can read the allegations here, but be forewarned that they contain extremely graphic images:

In May 2017, White settled the lawsuit with Zawaideh for an undisclosed sum, according to USA Today. Zawaideh was only 17 or 18 when one of the incidents allegedly occurred, according to the lawsuit.

Asked about the allegations at the Olympics after winning a gold medal, White labeled them “gossip.”

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Zawaideh Claimed White Sent Her Videos That ‘Sexualized Human Fecal Matter’

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Zawaideh claimed in the lawsuit she filed that White’s public persona hides “a darker, misogynistic personality.”

During her time in the band, White would, according to Sawaideh, allegedly send her videos and photos of male genitalia and “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.”

According to Deadspin, the lengthy lawsuit also accused White once yelling “Hey, have you seen this video?!” then showing Zawaideh a video “of a couple killing a bear and then having sex on top of it.” He was also accused of forcing Zawaideh “to watch a video called ‘Church of Fudge,’ which the complaint describes as ‘hardcore porn involving a priest, a nun and fecal matter,'” Deadspin reported.

She also claimed that White “demanded” she get a haircut, wear revealing clothes and stop wearing her trademark red lipstick. Eventually, her refusal to cut her hair resulted in her being “demeaned” in interviews by White. She was fired at the end of a 2014 tour without any word from White, she says. Deadspin published the photos from the lawsuit; be aware that they are extremely graphic.

She also claimed that White withheld payments from her. She alleged that he never paid her “contractual payments for 2014,” according to Zawaideh. According to USA Today, White “vigorously contested the suit and…tried to compel Zawaideh to undergo a mental health examination after she claimed she suffered emotional and mental distress because of what happened.”

However, the newspaper reported that he “later withdrew that request” and then entered an unconditional settlement that resulted in the case being dismissed before it ever went to trial.

Zawaideh’s lawyer Lawrance Bohm released a statement: “Yesterday, Shaun White used the word ‘gossip’ to refer to the past sexual harassment lawsuit by his former drummer Lena Zawaideh, our client. There are powerful forces at play which prevent Ms. Zawaideh from speaking about the allegations and ultimate outcome of the sexual harassment case.”

He added, “Before Mr. White made his comment, Ms. Zawaideh believed that this matter was in the past, and she was happy to put the situation behind her so she can focus on her blossoming music career. Unfortunately, by his recent comments and conduct, Mr. White has minimized the problem of sexual harassment in this country. Mr. White’s comments, on the world stage, directly impugn the character of Ms. Zawaideh. No woman wants to be called a ‘gossip’ or a liar by the harasser. Minimizing sexual harassment maximizes the harm to Ms. Zawaideh. Hopefully, before our country declares someone ‘the best of the U.S.,’ there will be investigation and due diligence.”

2. Zawaideh First Sued White In May 2016 & He Admitted to Sending Her the Sexually Explicit Videos

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Shaun White in 2015. (Getty)

Zawaideh first made her complaints publicly in a lawsuit filed in May 2016, TMZ reported at the time. She made similar claims, adding that her relationship with White began to sour in 2013 when he allegedly insisted they follow him around as he prepared for the Sochi Olympics.

She was initially suing White for $42,000 in back payments but was also suing for punitive damages. However, the amended lawsuit also accuses White of trying to kiss Zawaideh on the mouth at a Halloween party while intoxicated. She told him no, according to the suit.

After Zawaideh filed the lawsuit again on August 16 of that year with new lawyer Lawrance Bohm, White’s attorney sent a statement to TMZ in which he admitted to sending the offensive videos.

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

Zawaideh has moved on to create music via the band Nightpulse. Her website says, “The vision of singer, songwriter, producer, and renowned drummer Lena Zawaideh, the music of NightPulse encompasses pop bliss and midnight emotionality.”

“The name reflects my sound,” she says on the website. “‘Night’ expresses the dark and moody qualities. ‘Pulse’ is the dance-y rhythmic element. They’re conflicting ideas, but they blend together beautifully.”

3. Zawaideh Says White’s Behavior was ‘Always Strange’ & ‘He’s Just Very Impulsive’

In an interview with the New York Post, Zawaideh said that White “started off strange,” describing his humor and alleged behavior as “strange.” She added, “He drank a lot and would get weird and then have to apologize the next day.”

“He’s just very impulsive, if you could describe him in two words it would be ‘f–k it.’ Like that’s his personality,” Zawaideh, who started playing with White in 2007, told the Post. “He’ll just go for it and then deal with the repercussions later.”

In response to White’s statement, Zawaideh said she is not taking the videos as a joke. “Last time I checked, killing a bear and fornicating on it as it’s dying was not funny,” she said.

Zawaideh’s lawyer also disputed White’s comment on the timing of the lawsuit, noting that it needed to be filed at least two years to the day she was fired to avoid issues with statutory limits. He also told the Post that the new lawsuit was more focused on the sexual harassment Zawaideh faced.

In a statement, Zawaideh explained her reason for filing the lawsuit:

I am pursuing this case because women should not have to tolerate harassment at work.  Shaun White should not be allowed to 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.

4. Bad Things’ Facebook Page Has Been Dormant Since 2015

Bad Things did record one studio album while Zawaideh was in the band. The self-titled Bad Things was released in 2014 and was followed by a tour. At the time of the lawsuit, Zawaideh was still seen on the group’s website, which hadn’t been updated since that September 2014.

The latest activity on their Facebook page at the time of the lawsuit came in June 2015, when they tried to help a band raise funds to replace stolen equipment.

The Facebook page for the band, as of 2018, still has a 2015 post at the top.

Their Twitter page was more active though, although the most recent post on it now dates to 2016.

5. White Had to Apologize for ‘Poor Behavior’ in 2012 When He Was Arrested for Public Intoxication

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Shaun White in 2014. (Getty)

This isn’t the first time White has faced legal problems. In 2012, he was arrested for public intoxication and vandalism after he pulled a hotel fire alarm in Nashville. He was also seen destroying a phone.

He later took to Facebook to apologize for “any inconvenience it caused my family, friends, business partners, the hotel and their guests” and he was “celebrating a happy occasion with a ton of family and friends and got carried away. I’m truly sorry for my poor behavior.”