Ryan Lochte Rushed by Audience Members as 'Dancing With the Stars' Cuts to Commercial

The Olympian appeared shocked as his debut on the live ABC reality competition show was plagued by protesters: "We had a bit of a scary moment."
Screengrab/ABC
'DWTS' host Tom Bergeron, Ryan Lochte and Lochte's partner Cheryl Burke

Ryan Lochte's debut on Dancing With the Stars was interrupted when two men rushed the stage during Monday night's premiere of the ABC reality competition series. The incident occurred off camera, though viewers could hear the chaos as it unfolded.

Several audience members, however, captured the incident on social media. According to the eyewitnesses, a row of men and women in the audience revealed anti-Lochte T-shirts, and two men then rushed the stage. Video from one Twitter user shows one of the protesters being tackled to the ground. Additional footage shows the audience clapping as the two men are escorted out, and then chanting "Get out" to the remaining women. After the show, ABC News' Jason Nathanson shared a photo of two men in handcuffs wearing anti-Lochte shirts. 

"Two individuals stormed the dance floor tonight and were immediately subdued and escorted out of the building," a spokesperson from BBC Worldwide Productions, producer of DWTS, told The Hollywood Reporter. "The matter is now being handled by the authorities."

The Associated Press reported the two men, identified as Sam Sotoodeh, 59, and Barzeen Soroudi, 25, were arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor trespassing. They were subsequently booked and held on $1,000 bail each. Los Angeles police spokesman Mike Lopez said they were detained by security until police arrived to take them into custody. No one was injured or listed as a victim in the incident.

Lochte and dance partner Cheryl Burke were listening to Carrie Ann Inaba critique their performance of the foxtrot to "Call Me Irresponsible" when the judge's attention was diverted by the commotion. The cameras stayed on Inaba as sounds of "boos" could be heard, and she began to repeat, "Excuse me, excuse me."

Host Tom Bergeron was heard saying "easy" before the cameras panned back to him and a stunned Lochte and Burke. 

"Take a breath," Bergeron told the audience, before the show abruptly cut to commercial.

When the show returned from the break, Bergeron thanked the security team for their efforts, saying, “We had a little break because we had a little incident."

"So many feelings are going through my head right now," Lochte told Bergeron after the break. He then added that he was "a little hurt," saying, "I came out here and I wanted to do something I was completely uncomfortable with, and I did." 

A shaken Burke said, “I’m shocked. I’m hurt for Ryan. He’s an amazing guy."

They ultimately received a combined score of 24 out of 40.

Inaba took to her Instagram shortly after the incident to say: "We had a bit of a scary moment during tonight's live taping of @dancingabc, but thanks to our security team and incredible staff at #DWTS, no one got hurt. Only positive energy here tonight and always. Thank you. #dancingwiththestars #security #grateful #dwtspremiere #dwts23."

On Tuesday, Burke also spoke out about the incident on social media and said. "My heart is aching" for Lochte," she said in a lengthy tweet. "No one deserves this sort of behavior directed at them."

Ahead of his casting on DWTS, the Olympic gold medalist was at the center of a firestorm after fabricating a robbery report while at the Rio Games. The scandal marred the U.S. Olympic team's performance in Rio de Janeiro, and the swimmer subsequently lost his endorsements and was suspended for 10 months. Lochte wouldn't be the first to attempt to rehabilitate his image on the dancing show, which has also featured TV personality Paula Deen.

Watch the moment below:

Sept. 12, 9:45 p.m. PT: Updated with arrests of two men.

10:47 p.m.: Updated with statement from BBC Worldwide Productions.

Sept. 13, 7:45 a.m.: Updated with names of two men, revised charges and bail amounts.

Sept. 13, 12:40 p.m.: Updated with statement from Burke.

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