In 2011, a woman accused Mavericks owner Mark Cuban of putting his hand down the back of her pants and penetrating her vagina as they posed for pictures. Cuban denies the allegation. Police investigated and didn’t charge him. Employees at the bar where the incident occurred interviewed by police all said they didn’t see anything.
It seemed reasonable to ask: If Cuban suddenly penetrated the woman without her consent in a crowded bar where so much attention was on the celebrity, wouldn’t she have reacted in a way someone noticed?
Christopher White, who was working security at the bar that night, says he noticed.
White said he was standing about 20 feet away from the woman and Cuban.
“She definitely jumped after he had put his arm around her,” White said.
The woman looked upset and began to raise her voice and point angrily at Cuban, White said. Security guards moved quickly to separate the woman and other club patrons from the celebrity, he said.
“She jumped away like she was not happy with him,” White, 33, said in an interview Wednesday with The Oregonian/OregonLive. “That’s when the energy in the room kind of exploded.”
“I didn’t have a camera on his hand,” said White, who held various positions at the Northwest Third Avenue club between 2010 and 2014. “But it sure looked like it was too low to be just on her back.”
Cuban would point his finger at women with whom he wanted to be photographed and beckoned them, White said. The way Cuban touched some of the women struck White as inappropriate because his hands moved well below the middle of their backs, he said.
“He was, like, really kind of gropey toward them,” White said. “It just wasn’t how you’d normally pose in a picture with someone.”
White noticed immediately the blustery billionaire seemed very drunk when he arrived. Cuban was sweating and his hair looked messy, the former employee said. He slurred his words and gestured wildly as he interacted with people.
“He was slinking around all over the place,” White said. “I believe we told him we couldn’t serve him any alcohol.”
Cuban was eventually asked to leave the bar, White said, which he said the NBA owner did not respond well to. White said Cuban swore at those around him before storming off.
“This former employee of the bar who is coming forward today, seven years later, says he was watching Mr. Cuban at the critical moment when the photographs were being taken and Mr. Cuban did not put his hand in the complainant’s pants,” said Jacob Houze, an attorney for Cuban, in a statement.
“This former employee’s claims about Mr. Cuban’s interactions with other patrons and employees are directly refuted by all the witnesses who were interviewed by the police. Once again, this did not happen.”
White said he was never interviewed by police, but later told a friend what he’d witnessed. The friend confirmed to The Oregonian/OregonLive that White had told him the same account.
White previously telling a friend about the incident would somewhat invalidate that he’s just coming forward now, as Cuban’s attorney portrays it. And just because some people didn’t see something doesn’t mean someone else didn’t see it or that it didn’t happen.
Still, tricky questions remain: What actually happened? What can be proven? What was criminal?