Protest of Lochte was ‘un­nerv­ing,’ host says

2 held for rush­ing ‘Danc­ing with the Stars’ stage; no ex­pla­na­tion given yet

Baltimore Sun - - SPORTS -

LOS AN­GE­LES — “Danc­ing with the Stars” host Tom Berg­eron said every­one in the stu­dio was shocked when two men rushed the stage to protest Olympic swim­mer Ryan Lochte af­ter his per­for­mance on the ABC re­al­ity competition.

Berg­eron de­scribed the in­ci­dent as “re­ally un­nerv­ing” on ABC’s “Good Morn­ing Amer­ica” on Tues­day.

The two men, wear­ing anti-Lochte T-shirts, were ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of crim­i­nal tres­pass­ing, Los An­ge­les po­lice spokes­woman Lil­iana Pre­ci­ado said.

They had rushed the stage while Lochte was get­ting his scores from judge Car­rie Ann In­aba for his de­but per­for­mance dur­ing Mon­day night’s live in­stall­ment of the celebrity ball­room-dance competition. “GMA” aired video that wasn’t shown dur­ing the live broad­cast of one of the men be­ing tack­led on­stage by se­cu­rity.

“Hey, back off,” In­aba said as the al­ter­ca­tion was oc­cur­ring off screen.

When the show re­turned, host Berg­eron ex­plained they were in­ter­rupted by “a lit­tle in­ci­dent” and thanked the ABC se­ries’ se­cu­rity team “for stay­ing in shape.”

The video also showed at least four oth­ers in the au­di­ence wear­ing an­tiLochte shirts. They were es­corted out while be­ing ver­bally con­fronted by dancer Derek Hough.

Po­lice iden­ti­fied the men on­stage as Sam Sa­toodeh, 59, and Barzeen Soroudi, 25. The two were ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of mis­de­meanor tres­pass­ing and held on $1,000 bail each. A mes­sage at a num­ber for Sa­toodeh was not im­me­di­ately re­turned Tues­day. A num­ber for Soroudi could not be found.

The two men were de­tained by se­cu­rity un­til po­lice ar­rived to take them into cus­tody. Pre­ci­ado said po­lice did not know what the pro­test­ers’ mo­ti­va­tions or in­ten­tions were.

No one was in­jured or listed as a vic­tim in the in­ci­dent, of­fi­cials said.

Lochte told Berg­eron after­ward: “So Olympian Ryan Lochte ap­pears with Ch­eryl Burke on “Danc­ing With The Stars.”

“So many feel­ings are go­ing through my head right now. A lit­tle hurt.” Ryan Lochte

many feel­ings are go­ing through my head right now. A lit­tle hurt. I came out here and wanted to do some­thing I am com­pletely not com­fort­able with, and I did.”

ABC did not im­me­di­ately re­turn mes­sages seek­ing com­ment about the in­ci­dent.

Dur­ing the episode, the Olympic medal­ist per­formed a fox­trot rou­tine with pro­fes­sional part­ner Ch­eryl Burke to “Call Me Ir­re­spon­si­ble.” They re­ceived a com­bined score from the judges of 24 out of 40.

Lochte and team­mates have faced crit­i­cism since they were in­volved in an early-morn­ing drunken en­counter dur­ing the Olympics last month at a gas sta­tion in Rio de Janeiro. They later claimed they were threat­ened and robbed.

U.S. team of­fi­cials banned Lochte for 10 months, re­quir­ing him to for­feit $100,000 in bonuses and miss the 2017 world cham­pi­onships.

ERIC MCCANDLESS/ABC

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