14 September 2016
“Dancing with the Stars’’ host Tom Bergeron was shocked and unnerved by protesters who shouted “liar, liar’’ and rushed to the stage after a live performance by Ryan Lochte.
The U.S. Rio Olympics gold medallist swimmer, Lochte, had claimed he was robbed at gunpoint during the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The two protesters were tackled by security operatives and arrested for trespass and other people in the audience booed before being removed by security, the ABC network and police said.
Lochte appeared shaken by the incident at the show in Los Angeles. Afterward, he told journalists he first thought the disturbance was a joke.
ABC released a video of the incident, which was not seen by audiences at home when Bergeron cut to a commercial on Monday night.
It showed two men wearing anti-Lochte T-shirts going on the stage, shouting as they walked near Lochte, while he and his dance partner Cheryl Burke were being critiqued by judges after their foxtrot.
Four women in the audience, wearing the same T-shirts, booed and were shown leaving. No one was injured.
“We were shocked and we have a very good security system here,” Bergeron said.
In Rio, Lochte said that he and three teammates were robbed and that he had a gun pointed at his head by the robbers.
It was later revealed that quite to the contrary, the Olympians had vandalised a gas station after a night of partying and were confronted by security guards.
In the aftermath, Lochte lost all four of his sponsors and was suspended from U.S. swimming competition for 10 months.
He apologised over the incident, acknowledged exaggerating his story and said he lied when he said a gun was held to his head.
Bergeron denied the Los Angeles incident was a pre-arranged stunt, adding: “there are always sceptics about everything, but look, it wasn’t a bit,” Bergeron stressed.
“It was really unnerving and again, I applaud our security team for making it very short.’’
According to Bergeron, the mood in the room is definitely in Ryan’s corner after these guys have been escorted out.
The 12-time Olympic medallist is the most high profile celebrity on the 23rd season of “Dancing with the Stars,’’ which has been a popular venue for those seeking a comeback or trying to change their image.
Lochte and Burke got a respectable score of 24 for their dance but were topped by U.S. Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez and her partner with 31.
No one has yet been voted off the show by the audience.