Scandal erupted on the stage of “Dancing With the Stars” Monday evening when protesters charged their way into the broadcast during Olympic swimmer and controversial party boy Ryan Lochte’s critique of his first dance routine.
ABC News reported that two men were able to make it onto the ballroom floor as multiple others screamed chants targeted at the swimmer whose far-fetched explanation of an altercation between himself and Brazilian police (quickly revealed to have been an outright lie) sparked international outrage. The protesters were quickly subdued by the venue’s security personnel and handed over to police for prosecution.
A representative of the company who creates “Dancing with the Stars” told CNN that “the matter is now being handled by the authorities”. When contacted, CNN confirmed through LAPD the names of the protesters seized for their brazen interruption: Barzeen Soroui and Sam Sotoodeh. “They were arrested on trespassing, this was a private person’s arrest as the security at the venue made the arrest,” a representative of the LAPD said. “We just accepted [them] and booked them.”
During the altercation, the live cameras stay pinned on judge Carrie Ann Inaba, who could do nothing but exclaim “Excuse me!” as chaos erupted all around her. “Off! Off!” Before the producers of the show shrewdly cut to commercial break, viewers were treated to a passing glimpse of Lochte and his contestant partner Cheryl Burke, both well beyond bewildered by the events transpiring before them.
When the program returned after the commercial break, host Tom Bergeron offered Lochte a chance to comment. “So many feelings are going through my head right now,” said the swimmer. “You know, at that moment, I was really heartbroken. My heart just sank. It felt like somebody just ripped it apart.”
Other contestants offered messages of support, such as dancing partner Burke, who was “completely shocked” but still proud of Ryan for having the courage to witness people complain about him on live television.
Moved by this horrific display of classless barbarism, Robert Van Winkle, better known to global audiences as Vanilla Ice, offered “He won the gold medal for this country, folks. Get over the bull story, whatever. It doesn’t matter. He’s a hero and he’s a great guy on top of that.”
Winkle’s partner Witney Carson said she had never seen anything like what transpired on the entirety of the show’s lengthy run. “I think it was just saddening and disheartening more than anything because this is such a positive show and we’re all about putting people in a positive light”, she said. “For somebody to ruin that for Ryan is just really, really hard.”