NEWS

Ryan Lochte Protesters Storm 'DWTS' Stage During Live Show, Swimmer Admits He's 'A Little Hurt'

by Philiana Ng 7:59 PM PDT, September 12, 2016
Playing Ryan Lochte Protesters Storm 'DWTS' Stage During Live Show, Swimmer Admits He's 'A Little Hurt'

Scary moment on Dancing With the Stars.

Ryan Lochte, who is currently serving a 10-month ban from USA Swimming following his Rio scandal, experienced what may have been one of the scariest instances in DWTS history.

EXCLUSIVE: Ryan Lochte Reacts to 'DWTS' Protestors: 'It Felt Like Someone Took My Heart Out'

After his routine, the embattled Olympian was on the dance floor with partner Cheryl Burke for the usual judges’ session when Lochte protesters crashed the stage in the middle of judge Carrie Ann Inaba’s critique.

“This is a place for second chances. What you bring to this ballroom is all we want to see,” Inaba said, as hecklers could be heard in the background, before she was unexpectedly interrupted by the stage crashers. “And I really do feel that you brought your best to this ballroom. You have a long way to go. Swimming is a -- excuse me! Hey, back off!”

Though the camera stayed on Inaba during the scary moment -- as shots of Lochte and Burke’s routine played to the right of the split screen -- you could see security running across the stage, with audio indicating that there was some kind of scuffle.

RELATED: Ryan Lochte Hopes Competing on 'DWTS' Will Give Him a Second Chance With Fans

Inaba’s facial expressions, though she barely spoke, said volumes about what was happening in front of her eyes. As host Tom Bergeron abruptly threw to commercial break, we saw a shaken Burke and Lochte unsure of what just happened.

An eyewitness tells ET that two male protesters ran out onto the stage, tearing their shirts off to reveal anti-Lochte shirts underneath while the swimmer was on the dance floor during the judges’ critique. Security immediately intervened, tackling them to the ground and detaining the men with some kind of a restraint.

Another source inside tells ET that a row of protesters, wearing the same anti-Lochte shirts, also stood up in the audience. The source says that Derek Hough spotted them and had them thrown out.

The source tells ET that Leah Remini’s husband, who was seated with the former DWTS guest host in the front row, also jumped up to help.

RELATED: Ryan Lochte Talks 'Big Mistake' in Rio: Everyone's 'Blowing This Way Out of Proportion'

“First of all, wow,” Inaba said after DWTS returned from a lengthy commercial break, still in shock over what had just transpired. Bergeron addressed the scare by calling it a “little incident.” "Thank you to our security team for staying in shape,” he quipped.

When Bergeron asked Lochte how he was doing after the scary kerfuffle, he was gracious in his response, saying, “I’m good.”

“So many feelings are going through my head right now,” he admitted, with a camera pan to his mom who was visibly emotional. “A little hurt but I came out here. I wanted to do something that I didn’t feel comfortable with and I did and I came out here with a big smile.”

RELATED: Ryan Lochte Suspended From USA Swimming for 10 Months

As for how Burke was holding up after the protesters stormed the stage, she was visibly shaken and clearly Team Lochte all the way.

“I’m shocked. I am hurt for Ryan. Me and Ryan have gotten the pleasure to know each other and he is 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,” Burke said. “I hope people give him the chance.”

Inaba took to Instagram following the live show to thank DWTS security for keeping everyone safe following the "scary moment."

"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. Only positive energy here tonight and always," she wrote.

A BBC Worldwide Productions spokesperson addressed the incident in a statement on Monday night, saying, "Two individuals stormed the dance floor tonight and were immediately subdued and escorted out of the building. The matter is now being handled by the authorities."

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