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'Dancing with the Stars' Ryan Lochte protesters reach civil compromise, must pay $20k


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/17/2017 

Dancing with the Stars fans were shocked when two male protesters rushed the stage wearing anti-Ryan Lochte T-shirts in Fall 2016, and now there's an update on the men's misdemeanor trespassing charge.

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Six months after the incident, protesters Sam Sotoodeh and Barzeen Soroudi have agreed to pay a large fine in order to avoid facing criminal charges and potential jail time, TMZ reported.

The men reportedly worked with the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office to reach a civil compromise in which they will pay $20,000 to Dancing with the Stars producers, the show's production company BBC Worldwide Productions, and CBS Television City, where the ABC series is filmed.

In return, the criminal charges against Sotoodeh and Soroudi will be dropped, according to TMZ.

The men would've faced up to six months of jail time had the case gone to trial. Although frightened by the protest, Lochte and his then-Dancing with the Stars pro partner Cheryl Burke will not be compensated.

In September of last year during a live broadcast of Dancing with the Stars' 23rd season, Sotoodeh and Soroudi rushed the stage targeting Lochte, 32, when he and Burke were standing next to DWTS host Tom Bergeron and receiving feedback from the judges for their dance.

The protesters were reportedly screaming "liar" at Lochte and tackled by the show's security team. Sotoodeh and Soroudi were escorted out of the building following the incident, arrested, released on $1,000 bail each and ultimately charged with misdemeanor trespassing, ABC News previously reported.

According to the Los Angeles Police Department, Soroudi and Sotoodeh -- who are about 30 years apart from each other in age -- said at the time they were protesting Lochte because of the scandal in Rio de Janeiro during the 2016 Summer Olympics in which the gold medalist had fabricated a story about being robbed and held on gunpoint when, in actuality, he vandalized a gas station's bathroom with the help of three swimming teammates.

Soroudi and Sotoodeh had reportedly told the LAPD that they believed Lochte's lie endangered Americans and so they wanted to shame him. 

Burke, 32, was clearly shaken after the protesters rushed the stage, saying on the broadcast she was "shocked" and "hurt" for her celebrity partner, who was trying to rehab his image on the show. Lochte later told Entertainment Tonight, "Honestly, it felt like someone just reached inside, took my heart out and tore it to shreds."

Lochte and Burke were the seventh couple eliminated from their Dancing with the Stars season on the show's October 31 broadcast. Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez won that edition with her pro partner Val Chmerkovskiy.


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