After Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte finished his first dance on Monday evening’s season premiere of Dancing With the Stars, the broadcast cut to a splitscreen of prerecorded footage and judge Carrie Ann Inaba’s shocked expression as something went down on the ballroom floor.
As Inaba began to note Lochte’s dance, low yells or boos can be heard from the audience. Inaba says, “Excuse me! Hey, back off! Excuse me, excuse me. Off, off,” as security can be seen rushing by the camera. The show then cuts to commercial.
After the return from commercial, host Tom Bergeron asks Lochte, who is visibly red and flustered, if he’s feeling alright.
Those of us watching the show live were confused:
Lochte recently earned international attention after behaving like an asshole in Rio de Janeiro and then lying about it, and his stint on DWTS was likely set up to be his re-entry into America’s hearts and groins.
ABC 7's George Pennacchio tweeted the following photograph as evidence of what happened:
ABC has not yet responded to request for comment. We will update this post as more information becomes available.
Update (10:45 p.m.): According to People, the two men pictured above walked onstage and yelled into the camera before being tackled by security guards and getting pushed into Bergeron, Lochte, and Lochte’s partner Cheryl Burke.
DWTS professional dancer Lindsay Arnold told People: “I was backstage and when I heard the commotion I ran to the side of the stage and I was just in shock. I couldn’t believe it was happening. I think it’s a shame that people would feel the need to do that. Ryan is just a guy who is coming here to entertain and get a fresh start and it’s sad that such a happy night of dance was disrupted like that.”
Pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy told Entertainment Weekly that this is a first for the show: “We had Miss Sarah Palin present in our ballroom one time and nothing like this happened,” he said. “I just don’t think we are the show. We all have opinions, we all may be drastic in our beliefs, whatever. The ballroom of Dancing with the Stars is not a place you want to run out on because we don’t actually think about these things. We are occupied 24/7 with teaching our partners how to friggin’ foxtrot. Believe me, [the celebrities] are going through enough already. Let them be. Find them in the supermarket or something.”
Updated (9:00 a.m.): In a comment provided to Jezebel, a BBC Worldwide spokesperson said, “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.”