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Ryan Lochte Protesters Explain Rushing ‘Dancing With the Stars’ Stage: He ‘Embarrassed Americans’

The two men who rushed the stage after Ryan Lochte finished his Dancing With the Stars debut performance on Monday, September 12, claim they acted out to send a message. 

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Cheryl Burke and Ryan Lochte perform live on Dancing with the Stars on September 12, 2016.

“Our purpose is to get the message out that Lochte is a coward, a liar and under Brazilian law, a criminal,” Sam Satoodeh told ABC News after being released from jail on Tuesday, September 13.

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The second man, Barzeen Soroudi, added: “[Lochte] embarrassed Americans on the world’s stage, and this was our form of protesting against that.”

As previously reported by Us Weekly, Satoodeh and Soroudi rushed the ballroom stage while wearing anti-Lochte T-shirts as Carrie Ann Inaba began to deliver her criticism of the Olympian’s routine. The two men were quickly tackled and handcuffed by security. Women in the audience wearing the same anti-Lochte T-shirts were also escorted out of the studio.

Satoodeh and Soroudi were arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor trespassing, according to the Associated Press. Each was held on $1,000 bail.

Lochte, who is competing on season 23 of the hit ABC show with pro dancer Cheryl Burke, was sentenced to a 10-month suspension by the United States Olympic Committee and USA Swimming after vandalizing a gas station bathroom in Rio during the 2016 Summer Games this past August. He had originally claimed to local law enforcemcent that he and three of his fellow teammates were robbed at gunpoint.

The 12-time Olympic medalist, who has publicly apologized for his behavior in Rio, issued a statement on Wednesday, September 14, about the DWTS incident.

“When I was asked to do the show, the one thing that I kept hearing was that it was like joining a big family,” Lochte wrote wrote on his Instagram account. “After Monday’s incident, I now know what that means. I have gotten so much love from everyone on the show, including my partner Cheryl, my fellow competitors, the producers, the security team and its fans.”

DWTS issued a statement to Us on Tuesday stating that they’re re-evaluating security following the scare.

“The safety and security of our cast, crew and studio audience is of utmost importance,” a spokesperson from BBC Worldwide Productions said. “A full evaluation of security procedures/protocols is taking place and we will make any changes deemed necessary.”

Dancing With the Stars airs on ABC on Mondays at 8 p.m. ET.

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