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HOME > Dancing with the Stars > Dancing with the Stars 23


Ryan Lochte's 'Dancing with the Stars' protesters charged with misdemeanor trespassing, details revealed

By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 09/13/2016 

Ryan Lochte and his pro partner Cheryl Burke experienced a scare after performing on Dancing with the Stars, but viewers didn't see what happened, so new details have emerged regarding the incident.

Two protesters, Los Angeles residents Sam Sotoodeh, and Barzeen Soroudi, targeted Lochte, rushed the Dancing with the Stars stage and were tackled by the show's security team during Monday night's broadcast, ABC News reported after obtaining unbroadcast footage from the episode.

According to the Los Angeles Police Department, Soroudi, 25, and Sotoodeh, 59, said 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.

The two male suspects reportedly told the LAPD that they believe Lochte's lie endangered Americans. Soroudi and Sotoodeh were charged with misdemeanor trespassing after the Dancing with the Stars incident, according to ABC News. 

In the unseen footage, the two male protesters approached the Dancing with the Stars' judging table last night and interrupted the show by standing in front of Lochte, Burke and host Tom Bergeron.

A security guard then tackled one of the men to the ground while a second guard grabbed the other protester by the arms and walked him to the side of the stage. Sotoodeh and Soroudi were wearing anti-Lochte T-shirts and reportedly screaming, "liar," at Lochte.

Four or five women in the audience were also simultaneously shouting at Lochte as the two men made their moves. Pro dancer Derek Hough reportedly ran out from backstage and yelled at the female protesters to leave the studio.

"Honestly, by the time I saw the two guys coming with their T-shirts, our security team had them sucking floor. So it all happened very quickly and then my main concern was how Ryan and Cheryl were and to try to get some control of the show so we could move forward once I knew that that had been taken care of," Bergeron told ABC News.

"We were shocked... The mood in the room was definitely in Ryan's corner after these guys were escorted out."

While all of this drama unfolded, Dancing with the Stars viewers at home only saw a split screen of Inaba critiquing Lochte and Burke's foxtrot while the routine replayed. Suddenly, Inaba, 48, began shouting, "Excuse me, excuse me! Off, off!"

Inaba then stared wide-eyed at what was happening in front of her. Cameras then cut to Bergeron, who asked everyone to take "a deep breath" before the network went to a commercial break.

Once the broadcast returned, Lochte and Burke appeared stunned, flustered and worried. Although viewers weren't filled in on the series of events, they assumed Lochte had been attacked, and the athlete admitted he was "hurt" by what had just transpired.

"So many feelings are going through my head right now," Lochte told Bergeron during the broadcast with a red-flushed face. "I want to do something that I'm not completely comfortable with."

Bergeron replied: "We are nothing if not a country of second acts and second chances."

Inaba was then given the opportunity to collect her thoughts and finish her feedback.

"You came out here and gave it your best... We are only here to judge your ballroom dancing, okay?" Inaba said, as Lochte smiled with relief. "I want you to know that."

Burke, clearly shaken, was later asked to comment on the disturbing incident, and she stood up for her DWTS celebrity partner, who is suspended from swimming for 10 months.

"I'm shocked and hurt for Ryan," Burke explained. "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. So I hope people give him a chance."

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