Shouting ‘Liar, liar,’ protesters disrupt Lochte’s TV dancing debut

Protesters rush the stage after a live performance by Ryan Lochte on Dancing With the Stars.
Ryan Lochte at a news conference in New York on Dec 15, 2015.
Ryan Lochte at a news conference in New York on Dec 15, 2015.PHOTO: REUTERS

(REUTERS) - Dancing With The Stars host Tom Bergeron said on Tuesday (Sept 13) he was shocked and unnerved by protesters who shouted “liar, liar” and rushed the stage after a live performance by Ryan Lochte, the gold-medal US swimmer who made up a story about being robbed at the Rio Olympics.

The two protesters were tackled by security and arrested for trespass and other people in the audience booed before being removed by security, the ABC network and police said.

Lochte, who was vilified in the US media for lying about being robbed and held at gunpoint during the Rio Olympics last month, appeared shaken by the incident on Monday night’s show.

Afterwards, he told journalists he first thought the disturbance was a joke.

ABC on Tuesday released video of the incident, which was not seen by audiences at home when Bergeron cut to a commercial on Monday night.

It showed two men wearing anti-Lochte T-shirts rushing onto the stage shouting as Lochte and his dance partner, Cheryl Burke, were being critiqued by judges after their foxtrot.

Four women in the audience, wearing the same T-shirts, booed and were shown leaving.

No one was injured.

 

“We were shocked and we have a very good security system here,” Bergeron told ABC’s Good Morning America on Tuesday.

He denied the incident was a pre-arranged stunt.

“There are always sceptics about everything but look, it wasn’t a bit,” Bergeron said.

“It was really unnerving and again, I applaud our security team for making it very short.”

Bergeron said that “the mood in the room was definitely in Ryan’s corner after these guys were escorted out.”

In Rio, Lochte had said he and three teammates were robbed at gunpoint but it was later revealed that they had vandalised a gas station after a night of partying.

After the lie was revealed, Lochte lost all four of his sponsors and was suspended from US swimming competition for 10 months. He apologised for the incident.

The 12-time Olympic medalist is the most high profile celebrity on the 23rd season of  Dancing With The Stars, which has been a popular venue for those seeking a comeback or trying to change their image.

Lochte and Burke got a respectable score of 24 for their dance but were topped by US Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez and her partner with 31.

No one has yet been voted off the show by the audience.