Ryan Lochte Assailed By Protesters During ‘Dancing With the Stars,’ Says He Was ‘In Shock’
UPDATE (SEPTEMBER 13): Ryan Lochte has spoken out about the frightening incident that took place during his Dancing With the Stars debut on Monday, telling Entertainment Tonight that he has "slowly, slowly been able to breathe [again]" after seemingly being nearly assaulted by protesters onstage. TMZ shared a video of a security guard tackling the alleged lead protester during his outburst.
"Honestly, it felt like someone just reached inside, took my heart out and tore it to shreds," Lochte told ET immediately following the live show. "I was really hurt when I saw that and I was in shock. But I looked at Cheryl [Burke] and she just smiled and said, 'You just did what you said you can’t do. You danced in front of millions.' And I was like, 'You’re right.'"
Lochte added that despite the security scare, he's not going to allow it to deter him from following through with competing on the show.
"I’m gonna keep moving forward and put this behind me and I’m gonna better myself every day and just, you know, come here [to do] what I came to do and dance," he said.
Meanwhile, the cast and crew of DWTS have been supportive of the controversial contestant following Monday night's dramatic premiere.
The Olympic swimmer's dancing partner, Burke, told ET that she was "beyond proud" of how Lochte navigated the incident, saying, "It's insane. We've worked so hard and I just wanted Ryan to have a positive experience. This is what this show is all about."
Burke shared a full statement on her Twitter account Tuesday, thanking the security team and asking for positivity in the wake of the event.
"I'm still trying to process everything that happened last night," Burke tweeted. "My heart is aching for Ryan and his family. No one deserves that sort of behavior directed at them."
Derek Hough also spoke out about the tense situation, sharing, "I felt the energy in the room change. I’m really sensitive to that, honestly. I got really defensive, not just for Ryan, but for the ballroom, for the show."
Hough added that he personally scolded the protesters for their behavior.
"I basically told them aggressively that they need to leave because you don’t do that here," he revealed. "And I think that they looked like fools because [Ryan] just did a great dance and he’s out there doing what he can do. We’re all human beings...You without sin cast the first stone. I don’t think these people are perfect. I don’t think any of us are and I think that to bring that in here, that doesn’t belong in here."
On Instagram, DWTS judge Carrie Ann Inaba addressed the "scary moment" and expressed gratitude that no one got hurt.
"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," she wrote. "Only positive energy here tonight and always."
The LAPD has so far confirmed to ET that the two men, ages 40 and 48, who ran onstage did not have valid tickets to the show. They were booked for trespassing on September 12 and have been taken to a detention center in downtown Los Angeles, where bail has been set at $1,000 each.
ORIGINAL POST (SEPTEMBER 12): Season 23 of Dancing With the Stars got off to an unprecedented start on Monday night (September 12), when Ryan Lochte's controversial debut was stormed by protesters during the live premiere. The incident left everyone involved shocked, though thankfully not injured.
Lochte and his DWTS partner Cheryl Burke had just performed their inaugural foxtrot when, as Jezebel first reported, "the broadcast cut to a splitscreen of prerecorded footage and judge Carrie Ann Inaba’s shocked expression as something went down on the ballroom floor."
Inaba was among the judges commenting on Lochte and Burke's performance when a murmur of boos erupted from the live audience. Inaba said, “excuse me! Hey, back off! Excuse me, excuse me. Off, off,” to the off-camera crowd members, and suddenly there was an audible scuffle out of frame. Host Tom Bergeron can be heard saying, "All right. Okay. Wow." When the camera cuts back to Bergeron, who is standing with an unharmed but visibly-rattled Lochte and Burke, he sends the broadcast to commercial.
George Pennacchio, an ABC7 entertainment reporter in L.A., tweeted a photo of two detained protesters in anti-Lochte shirts. PEOPLE reports that the older of the men was tackled by security guards as he yelled into the camera and shoved into Lochte, Burke and Bergeron. Another audience member captured video of DWTS security apprehending the assailant; check out both below.
When DWTS returned from the commercial break, Lochte said that "So many feelings are going through my head. A little hurt, but I came out here. I wanted to do something I’m completely not comfortable with, and I did."
On September 7, the International Olympics Committee suspended Lochte for 10 months, after the swimming champion and three of his fellow swimmers claimed they were victims of an armed robbery. Brazilian authorities say a robbery never occurred, and that CCTV footage captured the allegedly inebriated swimmers vandalizing a gas station after a taxi ride, publicly urinating and handing money to a man. Later reports indicated the swimmers were handing over money for the damages they caused.