ABC was able to keep an unexpected violent attack from airing during the live broadcast of the “Dancing With the Stars” Season 23 premiere, but it was merely a matter of time before the clip hit the web.
Newly released footage shows the shocking assault on competitor Ryan Lochte as he and partner Cheryl Burke awaited scores for their first dance together. The pair performed a cha cha that was far than flawless, but won over judges with their chemistry. Some audience members, however, were less than impressed. During the judge's assessment two men wearing white shirts with Ryan’s last name crossed out in a large circle stormed the stage. New footage, not aired during the live broadcast, shows one of the two protestors stepping between “DWTS” host Tom Bergeron and ABC’s cameras. He is quickly tackled by security. Meanwhile the second man can be seen being escorted off stage.
Tom discussed the incident in detail during an interview with “Good Morning America” on Tuesday. He said that both men were screened before being allowed to join the “DWTS” audience and checked out. The host said that both men came to the show “dressed appropriately” and changed before hitting the stage.
The incident created quite a stir. “DWTS” pro Derek Hough opened up about the protest in an interview with People on Tuesday. He told the publication the set has become “home,” adding that he would protect it at all costs. Derek defended Ryan, telling the publication that the dancing competition is meant to serve as a chance for celebrities to get a second chance. He expressed a feeling that Ryan was being unfairly judged for lying about a robbery that he claimed occurred outside the Olympic village in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, during the 2016 Olympic Games. He is begrudgingly serving out a 10 month suspension from swimming for his transgressions, but hopes to use “DWTS” to prove to the American people that he has learned his lesson. Derek is rooting for Ryan, despite the fact that he is among his steepest competition on this season of “DWTS.”
“This is my home and I was just so shocked that people would come here and be so negative,” Hough told People. “This is a safe place for people to learn a new skill and seek redemption or start a new chapter in their life and that’s what Ryan is trying to do and I just felt so defensive that someone would try and ruin that for him and for everyone watching, so I took it upon myself to make sure they were escorted out. I wanted to protect my home.”
The incident in question took place shortly after Ryan and Cheryl performed their cha cha routine to “Call Me Irresponsible.” Judges were providing constructive criticism for the pair when two men stormed the stage. The “DWTS” host called for a commercial break, which allowed security enough time to remove the men before returning to judging. Ryan and Cheryl remained calm, though both appeared shaken by what occurred. They were given a score of 24 out of 40 overall.
“DWTS” returns with a new episode Tuesday, Sept. 19 at 8 p.m. EDT on ABC. The couples will have one more opportunity to redeem themselves before facing elimination on Wednesday, Sept. 20.