UPDATED 10:50 PM WITH DEREK HOUGH STATEMENTS: ABC has released the following statement: “An individual stormed the dance floor tonight and was immediately subdued and escorted out of the building. The matter is now being handled by the authorities.”
A reporter for ABC’s Los Angeles station tweeted a photo of two men, handcuffed and wearing anti-Lochte t-shirts (the word “Lochte” with the red circle-and-slash symbol). The men, both from Los Angeles, were arrested for trespassing.
— George Pennacchio (@abc7george) September 13, 2016
Apparently two men rushed the stage just after Lochte’s dance, while seven or eight loud supporters of the crashers stayed in the audience. One of the show’s more popular pro dancers, Derek Hough, later told People Magazine, “This is my home and I was just so shocked that people would come here and be so negative. This is a safe place for people to learn a new skill and seek redemption or start a new chapter in their life and that’s what Ryan is trying to do and I just felt so defensive that someone would try and ruin that for him and for everyone watching, so I took it upon myself to make sure they were escorted out. I wanted to protect my home.”
Contestant Jana Kramer told reporters that she observed Lochte backstage “close to tears.”
“Everyone,” she said, “makes mistakes and I really hope America gets to see the guy we are all getting to know, which is a really, really nice guy.”
PREVIOUS Olympian Ryan Lochte was just about to be judged on the season premiere of ABC’s Dancing With the Stars tonight when someone — or more than one — rushed the stage, prompting the show’s security to intervene. Host Tom Bergeron sent the live broadcast to commercial, leaving a stunned-looking Lochte silent.
After the break, Bergeron thanked the security staff for being on top of the incident.
The camera was focused on judge Carrie Ann Inaba, who had just started to give her comments when an apparent kerfuffle occurred onstage but off-camera. “Excuse me, excuse me,” a shocked Inaba said, while the other half of the split-screen showed an instant replay of Lochte’s foxtrot. Bergeron, off camera, said “Wow,” as two figures — apparently security – passed quickly by Inaba. Bergeron then said, “We’ll take a quick break and then get the rest of the judges’ comments. Take a deep breath.”
Upon returning, Bergeron said: “We had to go to break because we had a little incident. I’d like to personally thank our security team for staying in shape.”
Locthe and his dance pro Cheryl Burke stayed silent during Bergeron’s comments, but after the show resumed, Lochte said: “I’m doing good. So many feelings are going through my head right now. A little hurt. I came out here and wanted to do something I’m completely not comfortable with and I did and I came out here with a big smile.” Burke added, “I’m shocked and I’m hurt for Ryan. … He’s an amazing guy. He’s great, he’s kind, and he’s just here working his butt off and trying to do what he’s supposed to be doing, which is dancing.”
Lochte’s appearance on the dance competition come just weeks after his controversial stay in Rio during the Olympics, when the swimmer claimed to be robbed at gunpoint, an account Rio authorities later disputed.
Inaba, after the break, said: “We are only here to judge your ballroom dancing, I want you to know that.”
Lochte scored a 24 out of a possible 40, by the way, with each of the four judges awarding a 6 on his foxtrot technique.