A scary moment! Ryan Lochte had just finished performing on Dancing With the Stars when two men wearing anti-Lochte shirts ran out onto the dance floor before being apprehended by security. The disruption can be seen in the video above.
The incident took place during the ABC series’ season 23 premiere on Monday, September 12, as the embattled Olympic swimmer, 32, and dance partner Cheryl Burke were listening to judge Carrie Ann Inaba‘s feedback. While Lochte and Burke were on stage, two men stood up from the crowd wearing T-shirts featuring Lochte’s name crossed out in a red circle. The men ran onto the dance floor, and security guards tackled them and escorted them out.
A row of women wearing the same anti-Lochte shirts were booing the swimmer as this happened, prompting dance pro Derek Hough to run out from backstage and yell at the women. Security removed these women as well.
Television viewers were not able to see much of the excitement. Inaba paused in the middle of her comments and yelled at the men, “Excuse me! Hey, back off! Excuse me!” The camera stayed on Inaba and did not show the stage, and the show quickly cut to a commercial.
When the show returned from commercial, Lochte told host Tom Bergeron, “So many feelings are going through my head right now. A little hurt, but I came out here, and I wanted to do something that I’m completely not comfortable with, and I did, and I came out here with a big smile, and I have the best dance partner.”
Following the ruckus, ABC News reporter George Pennacchio tweeted a photo of two men in handcuffs wearing anti-Lochte shirts. “This is the cause of the #DWTS disruption,” Pennacchio wrote in the tweet.
This is the cause of the #DWTS disruption. More to come. pic.twitter.com/0AMkY6P2a1
— George Pennacchio (@abc7george) September 13, 2016
Inaba posted an Instagram message after the episode aired to address the chaos. “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 in a caption to a pic of herself backstage with a crew member. “Only positive energy here tonight and always. Thank you.”
Lochte has been a controversial figure since last month’s Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro. The 12-time Olympic medalist and three fellow Team USA swimmers (Gunnar Bentz, Jack Conger and Jimmy Feigen) vandalized a Rio gas station bathroom after a night of revelry and were asked by security guards to pay for repairs. Lochte initially claimed he and his teammates were robbed at gunpoint, but authorities later determined there was no evidence of a robbery.
Watch the tense DWTS situation unfold in the video above.
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