On Feb. 13, the whole world watched as snowboarder Shaun White won his third ever gold medal at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics. Most Americans cheered the victory, supporting the athlete who captured another gold medal for the United States.
One person most likely did not share that elation, however. Her name is Lena Zawaideh.
On the surface, White seems like and all-around great guy. He has a charming personality and he’s an amazing athlete.
But he’s also a man who reached an undisclosed settlement to a sexual harassment suit in 2017, according to Time Magazine.
The magazine said Zawaideh was formerly the drummer for the band Bad Things, which White financed. Zawaideh alleged that while she was working for White, he sent “explicit and graphic images to Zawaideh of engorged and erect penises, forced her to watch sexually disturbing videos, including videos sexualizing human fecal matter, and made vulgar sexual remarks to her,” according to the suit filed against White.
After winning his most recent gold medal, White was questioned about the allegations at a press conference. He stated he would rather discuss the Olympics than “gossip.” He has since apologized for referring to the situation as “gossip,” according to Yahoo Sports.
The claims against White obviously garnered some media attention, otherwise we wouldn’t be discussing them. However, it’s hard not to notice how little these allegations have affected White’s career and reputation.
Recently, in the age of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movement, when sexual harassment claims against a man are made, social media ignites. Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K. and Matt Lauer are just a few examples.
So why hasn’t the same happened to White? Why doesn’t the general population seem to be reacting to the allegations against White as they did for the other men?
The alleged behavior from all of these men, which has come to light because of the #MeToo movement, is undeniably terrible. Yet Lauer, Weinstein and C.K. all lost their jobs, with their reputations basically decimated.
But White still has his sponsorships. White still landed a spot on the Olympic team. White still won a gold medal.
People more involved with the #MeToo movement didn’t hesitate to point out what White has allegedly done, but other citizens, who were quick to voice their disgust for the other men, are strangely silent about White’s case.
Whether it’s because he is a charming young man or because he brings our country honor via the Olympics, that’s up for debate.
But one thing is for sure, if we are going to shun men for disgusting behavior, we cannot pick and choose which men to do that to.
Giving White a pass lets other men think they’ll get a pass, too. And if that happens, the #MeToo movement will be what it was before – nonexistent.
The Voice is intended to best represent the collective opinion of The Editorial Board. It is written by The Setonian’s Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor.