Ryan Lochte can count on his Dancing With the Stars family for support after two male protesters stormed the stage while he was on the dance floor.
Derek Hough, who helped throw out other protesters in the audience wearing anti-Lochte shirts, spoke to ET’s Nischelle Turner following Monday’s live show about the chaotic few minutes.
EXCLUSIVE: Ryan Lochte Reacts to 'DWTS' Protestors: 'It Felt Like Someone Took My Heart Out'
“I felt the energy in the room change,” the 31-year-old DWTS vet told ET on Monday. “I’m really sensitive to that, honestly. I got really defensive, not just for Ryan, but for the ballroom, for the show.”
Hough shared that he “said some words” to the protesters.
“I basically told them aggressively that they need to leave because you don’t do that here,” he said. “And I think that they looked like fools because [Ryan] just did a great dance and he’s out there doing what he can do. We’re all human beings,."
“You without sin cast the first stone,” Hough continued. “I don’t think these people are perfect. I don’t think any of us are and I think that to bring that in here, that doesn’t belong in here.”
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Hough, who opened the DWTS season 23 premiere with a performance with his partner, Marilu Henner, continued to defend his DWTS castmate, whom he admitted he didn’t know “well.”
“All I know is we’ve all done stuff. We’ve all made mistakes. We’ve all done things and unfortunately, his was out in the open,” he said. “But you know what, let’s all be there for each other, man. Let’s have some passion and let’s actually forgive. Let’s move on. Let’s look to the future and not the past.”
“Love, guys, love! Spread some love, alright?”
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Following the live DWTS show, ET spoke to Lochte, who is serving a 10-month suspension from USA Swimming after his Rio scandal, where the 32-year-old Olympic swimmer was candid about his feelings on what had just transpired.
“Honestly, it felt like someone just reached inside, took my heart out and tore it to shreds,” Lochte said. “I was really hurt when I saw that and I was in shock. But I looked at Cheryl [Burke] and she just smiled and said, ‘You just did what you said you can’t do. You danced in front of millions.’ And I was like, ‘You’re right.’”
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."
For more on Lochte’s scary DWTS moment, watch the video below.
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