LOS ANGELES – The “Dancing With the Stars” season premiere was not without excitement Monday night as protesters ran up on the stage following disgraced U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte’s performance.
While what exactly happened wasn’t immediately clear to viewers at home, those in attendance, including former DWTS contestant Danica McKellar, later posted about the incident on social media. McKellar said during judge Carrie Ann Inaba’s critique of Lochte’s performance, people wearing anti-Lochte T-shirts rushed up on stage. Inaba yelled “Hey, back off” when the protesters approached off-screen. However, the protesters were immediately tackled by security guards.
Video from a People Magazine employee on Twitter shows a protester being tackled.
There were also audible shouts of “Liar!” during the live broadcast. The show went to a commercial during the incident and upon its return, host Tom Bergeron explained that there had been an “incident” and thanked the security team. Lochte and professional partner Cheryl Burke seemed unaffected.
Lochte told Bergeron that he had so many feelings about the incident. He told the host that he was hurt. “I wanted to do something I’m completely not comfortable with, and I did,” said Lochte.
KABC entertainment reporter George Pennacchio tweeted a photo of two men in handcuffs wearing anti-Lochte T-shirts saying they were the cause of the disruption. Neither the show nor police have yet made any comment on the incident.