Shaun White apologizes for referring to sexual harassment lawsuit as 'gossip'

Shaun White has apologized for referring to a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against him as “gossip” during a news conference at the Olympics.

White, hours after winning his third Olympic gold medal in the snowboard halfpipe, was asked about the allegations, which re-surfaced as a topic of discussion this week. He evaded the question, and refused to take follow-ups.

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Shaun White during men's snowboard halfpipe events
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Shaun White during men's snowboard halfpipe events
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 13: Shaun White of the United States looks on following his first run during the Snowboard Men's Halfpipe Qualification on day four of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Phoenix Snow Park on February 13, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 14: Shaun White of the United States warms up ahead of the Snowboard Men's Halfpipe Final on day five of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics at Phoenix Snow Park on February 14, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 14: Shaun White of the United States warms up ahead of the Snowboard Men's Halfpipe Final on day five of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics at Phoenix Snow Park on February 14, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 14: Shaun White of the United States crashes in his second run during the Snowboard Men's Halfpipe Final on day five of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics at Phoenix Snow Park on February 14, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 13: Shaun White of the United States warms ahead of the Snowboard Men's Halfpipe Qualification on day four of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Phoenix Snow Park on February 13, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Pyeongchang-gun , South Korea - 13 February 2018; Shaun White of USA in action during the Halfpipe Qualifications on day four of the Winter Olympics at the Phoenix Snow Park in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)
Pyeongchang-gun , South Korea - 13 February 2018; Shaun White of USA celebrates his 98.50 score after the Halfpipe Qualifications on day four of the Winter Olympics at the Phoenix Snow Park in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - US Shaun White competes during qualification of the men's snowboard halfpipe at the Phoenix Park during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games on February 13, 2018 in Pyeongchang. / AFP PHOTO / LOIC VENANCE (Photo credit should read LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 13: Shaun White of the United States competes during the Snowboard Men's Halfpipe Qualification on day four of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Phoenix Snow Park on February 13, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
Pyeongchang-gun , South Korea - 13 February 2018; Shaun White of USA in action during the Halfpipe Qualifications on day four of the Winter Olympics at the Phoenix Snow Park in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 13: Shaun White of the United States competes during the Snowboard Men's Halfpipe Qualification on day four of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Phoenix Snow Park on February 13, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Snowboarding - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Men's Halfpipe Qualification - Phoenix Snow Park - Pyeongchang, South Korea - February 13, 2018 - Shaun White of the U.S. competes. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Snowboarding - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Men's Halfpipe Qualification - Phoenix Snow Park - Pyeongchang, South Korea - February 13, 2018 - Shaun White of the U.S. competes. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
Snowboarding - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Men's Halfpipe Qualification - Phoenix Snow Park - Pyeongchang, South Korea - February 13, 2018 - Shaun White of the U.S. reacts after his run. REUTERS/Mike Blake
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[Jeff Passan column: Reconciling the allegations with Shaun White’s Olympic gold]

Later that night, though, he went on the TODAY Show to address both the lawsuit and his earlier comments about it. “I’m truly sorry that I chose the word ‘gossip,'” he said. “It was a poor choice of words to describe such a sensitive subject in the world today.

“I’m just truly sorry. I was so overwhelmed with wanting to talk about how amazing today was, and wanting to share my experience.”

TODAY host Savannah Guthrie followed up by asking White if there was anything else he wanted to say, and whether or not he’s learned from the harassment case. (The lawsuit was settled last year.)

“Yeah, you know, I’ve grown as a person over the years,” White responded. “And it’s amazing … how life works, the twists and turns and lessons learned. Every experience in my life, I feel like it’s taught me a lesson. And I definitely feel like I’m a much more changed person than I was when I was younger. And yeah, I’m proud of who I am today.”

Back in 2016, White was accused of harassment by Lena Zawaideh, the former drummer in his band. Zawaideh alleged that White had texted her pictures of penises, shown her pornographic videos, demanded that she wear revealing clothes and, among other things, stuck his hands down his pants and then in her face.

The lawsuit was settled last May, but became a topic of the discussion during the Olympics when severalmedia outlets ran stories on it.

After White won his gold, a reporter asked the 31-year-old whether he thought the lawsuit would tarnish his legacy. He responded with the “gossip” comment, a brief answer, and then a refusal to answer more questions about the allegations.

RELATED: See Americans who have taken home medals at the 2018 Olympic Games: 

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Americans who have medaled at the 2018 Winter Olympics
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Americans who have medaled at the 2018 Winter Olympics
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 13: Gold medalist Chloe Kim of the United States poses during the medal ceremony for the Snowboard Ladies' Halfpipe Final on day four of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Medal Plaza on February 13, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 13: Bronze medalist Arielle Gold of the United States poses during the medal ceremony for the Snowboard Ladies' Halfpipe Final on day four of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Medal Plaza on February 13, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 11: U.S. Olympian Red Gerard poses with his Gold Medal at the USA House at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games on February 11, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for USOC)
USA's gold medallist Jamie Anderson poses on the podium during the medal ceremony for the women's snowboard slopestyle at the Pyeongchang Medals Plaza during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang on February 12, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Fabrice COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
USA's silver medallist Chris Mazdzer poses on the podium during the medal ceremony for the men's luge singles at the Pyeongchang Medals Plaza during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang on February 12, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Fabrice COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
The USA team who won bronze pose on the podium during the medal ceremony for the figure skating team event at the Pyeongchang Medals Plaza during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang on February 12, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Fabrice COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 12: Bronze medalists Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani of the United States pose with their teammates during the victory ceremony after the Figure Skating Team Event at Medal Plaza on February 12, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)
USA's Shaun White with his gold medal after victory in the Men's Halfpipe Snowboard during the medal ceremony at the Medal Plaza during day five of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea. (Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 15: Gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin of the United States celebrates during the medal ceremony for Alpine Skiing - Ladies' Giant Slalom on day six of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Medal Plaza on February 15, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 18: Silver medalist Nick Goepper of the United States celebrates during the medal ceremony for the Freestyle Skiing Men's Ski Slopestyle on day nine of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Medal Plaza on February 18, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - USA's silver medallist John-Henry Krueger kisses his medal on the podium during the medal ceremony for the short track men's 1000m at the Pyeongchang Medals Plaza during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang on February 18, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / JAVIER SORIANO (Photo credit should read JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 20: Bronze medalists Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani of the United States celebrate during the medal ceremony for Figure Skating - Ice Dance Free Dance on day 11 of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Medal Plaza on February 20, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
USA's bronze medallist Brita Sigourney poses on the podium during the medal ceremony for the freestyle skiing women's halfpipe at the Pyeongchang Medals Plaza during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang on February 20, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Fabrice COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
Pyeongchang, Gangwon - FEBRUARY 21: Bronze medallist Lindsey Vonn of the United States celebrates during the medal ceremony for the Ladies' Downhill on day twelve of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Medal PlazaFebruary 21, 2018 (Photo by Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 21: Heather Bergsma, Brittany Bowe, Mia Manganello and Carlijn Schoutens of the United States celebrate after winning the bronze medal in the Speed Skating Ladies' Team Pursuit Final B against Canada on day 12 of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Oval on February 21, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Amin Mohammad Jamali/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 21: Jessica Diggins of the United States (L) and Kikkan Randall of the United States celebrate as they win gold during the Cross Country Ladies' Team Sprint Free Final on day 12 of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Alpensia Cross-Country Centre on February 21, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG, Feb. 22, 2018 -- David Wise of the United States celebrates with his family after men's ski halfpipe of freestyle skiing at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games at Phoenix Snow Park, PyeongChang, South Korea, Feb. 22, 2018. David Wise won the gold medal with 97.20 points. (Xinhua/Wu Zhuang via Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 22: Jamie Anderson of United States is seen with her silver medal from the Ladies Snowboard Big Air Final at Medal Plaza on February 22, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG, SOUTH KOREA -FEBRUARY 22: Silver medalist Mikaela Shiffrin #19 of the United States at the presentations after the Alpine Skiing - Ladies' Alpine Combined Slalom at Jeongseon Alpine Centre on February 22, 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 22: (L-R) Carlijn Schoutens and Mia Manganello of the United States celebrate during the medal ceremony for Speed Skating - Ladies' Team Pursuit on day 13 of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Medal Plaza on February 22, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 22: Silver medalist Alex Ferreira of the United States celebrates during the medal ceremony for Freestyle Skiing - Men's Ski Halfpipe on day 13 of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Medal Plaza on February 22, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 22: Silver medalists Lauren Gibbs and Elana Meyers Taylor of the United States celebrate during the medal ceremony for Bobsleigh - Women on day 13 of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Medal Plaza on February 22, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, Pyeongchang- FEBRUARY 22 - Team USA with their medals as Canada loses in a shootout to the United States in the Olympic women's hockey gold medal game at the Gangneung Hockey Centre in Gangneung in Pyeongchang in South Korea. February 22, 2018. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
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