Ryan Lochte Protesters Disrupt His 'Dancing With the Stars' Debut

Two men were arrested after storming onto the set of 'DWTS.'

Ryan Lochte Protesters Disrupt His 'Dancing With the Stars' Debut
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You can't dance your way out of every problem.

Ryan Lochte's Dancing With the Stars debut took a major left turn on Monday night after protesters stormed onstage and caused quite the ruckus. The two men were later identified by the LAPD as Barzeen Soroudi, 25, and Sam Sotoodeh, 59. They were wearing white t-shirts with a “NO” symbol over Lochte's name.

Cheryl Burke and Lochte had just completed their foxtrot when the two men ran onstage from the audience section. The cameras continued to stay on judge Carrie Ann Inaba who repeatedly told the protesters to “back off.”

Footage of the event was later uploaded onto Twitter, and shows the protestors stepping in between DWTS host Tom Bergeron and the camera.  “They were just part of our typical audience and they went through a screening process like anybody else,” Bergeron explained. “I think they had dressed appropriately for the show and then tore those away to reveal those T-shirts.”

The DWTS security team quickly took control and tackled one man, while the other one was immediately escorted off stage. Bergeron cut to an early commercial break, but there were still four female protesters in the audience. They were wearing the same anti-Lochte t-shirts and continued to boo the Olympian from their seats. They were also shouting “Liar” at Lochte.

The other audience members then chimed in and started chanting “Ryan” in support of the gold medalist. Pro-dancer Derek Hough also rushed out and yelled at security to get the female protesters “out of here.”

“Everyone was freaked out, especially Ryan and Cheryl,” a source told E! News. “They were just frozen the entire time in utter shock.”

After filming confluded, Lochte explained his feelings about what had transpired. “It's hard. I'm getting over it, though,” he said in an interview with E! News. “It honestly feels as if someone reached inside, took out my heart out and just stepped on it.”

Lochte relied on Burke for support during the whole debacle. “She looked at me and smiled and said, 'You just danced in front of millions.' I was like, 'Oh, my God! You're right! I did,'” Lochte said. “So I'm going to keep moving forward and I'm going to keep dancing.”

Lochte has been facing a lot of scrutiny recently after he admitted to lying about a robbery in Rio de Janerio this summer. The Olympic Committee suspended him for 10 months and also demanded that Lochte to up $100,000 in bonuses. Lochte will also miss the 2017 world swimming championships.

What do you think of what went down on Dancing With the Stars? Did ABC make a mistake by including Lochte in the cast this season? Hit the comments to dish and discuss.

I'm the TV Editor at Zimbio. My interests include books, pop culture, and Colin Firth.
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