NEWS

Shaun White, Harvey Weinstein turned to same firm after allegations


Brent Schrotenboer

 |  USA TODAY Sports

Olympic gold medalist Shaun White made a strategic choice in 2016 after being accused of sexual harassment by the former drummer in his band.

He hired a law firm, but not just any law firm. He turned to the law firm of Glaser Weil in Los Angeles, led by attorney Patricia Glaser.

Her clients in recent months have included Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, former Fox Sports executive Jamie Horowitz, California lawmaker Matt Dababneh and music executive Charlie Walk — all of whom have faced accusations of sexual misconduct.

The firm is known for its celebrity clientele and has attracted high-profile business recently from those who stand accused in the #MeToo movement ignited by the Weinstein scandal of last October.

“Clients come to us because they are looking for positive resolutions,” Glaser’s bio says on her firm’s website. “It’s about resolving the client’s issues aggressively, effectively and efficiently.”

Timing was a big reason the lawsuit against White barely got any other media attention when USA TODAY Sports reported how it was resolved in May 2017. The accuser, Lena Zawaideh, had reached an undisclosed settlement with White to end the case, months before the rise of #MeToo — which dramatically raised awareness about sexual harassment.

Glaser Weil essentially had done what it was paid to do — fight the case and ultimately make it go away quietly. But then came the global stage of the Olympics this week in South Korea. These days, such allegations aren’t as easily swept aside.

A reporter asked him about the allegations this week.

“Here to talk about the Olympics, not gossip,” White responded, unwittingly inviting international media attention to a settled case in San Diego that had been gotten relatively little media coverage until now.

Zawaideh had accused White of sexual harassment, including sending her lewd text messages and forcing her to watch sexually disturbing videos.

Her attorney responded to White’s comments at the Olympics Wednesday by saying White was impugning his client’s character.

“Minimizing sexual harassment maximizes the harm to Ms. Zawaideh,” attorney Lawrance Bohm said in a statement Wednesday.

More: As Shaun White cements legacy, why so little attention paid to sexual harassment allegations?

More: Sexual harassment case tarnishes Shaun White’s golden Winter Olympics legacy

White since has taken a more conciliatory stance and said he regretted his past behavior.

A message for Glaser wasn’t immediately returned seeking comment.

Glaser’s representation of Weinstein has involved his legal battle against the film production company he founded and was fired from after a swarm of misconduct allegations emerged against him last year.

Last year, Glaser also represented Horowitz of Fox Sports after his firing amid a sexual harassment investigation. Glaser said in a statement then he had done an exemplary job at the company.

“Any slanderous accusations to the contrary will be vigorously defended,” she said in the statement released to media.

In December, a female lobbyist held a news conference at which she accused Dababneh, the California state lawmaker, of following her into a bathroom and masturbating in front of her. Glaser had called the allegation false and sent a cease-and-desist letter to the lobbyist before the news conference. Dababneh announced his resignation a few days later.

More recently, Walk, the music executive, turned to Glaser after the founder of a women’s wellness studio went public with her allegations against him Jan. 29. Tristan Coopersmith, the founder of Life Lab, said Walk had made lewd comments about her body, sent her messages with sexual remarks and had pushed her into his bedroom and onto his bed. Walk stepped down from the show “The Four” and was placed on leave from Republic Records after the allegations. 

Walk issued a statement to media outlets through Glaser:

“Although I continue to support the ‘Me Too’ movement, there has been an extreme rush to judgment against me in this particular case which is unfair and inconsistent with anything that even actually happened.”

Glaser Weil is a full-service law firm, whose attorneys include Robert Shapiro, a senior partner. Shapiro represented former football star O.J. Simpson before his acquittal on murder charges in 1995.

 



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