The season premiere of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” was interrupted by shouts of protesters, including two men who rushed the dance floor Monday night during the judges’ critique of beleaguered U.S. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte.
No one was harmed during the incident, but many were shaken up by it.
The LAPD identified the suspects arrested as Sam Sododeh, 48, and Barzeen Soroudi, 40, both from Los Angeles. They were booked for trespassing during a recording — a misdemeanor, police said. Four or five women in the audience who shouted at Lochte were escorted out.
Lochte said he was “hurt” by the incident, telling host Tom Bergeron, “So many feelings are going through my head right now.”
Pro dancer Derek Hough ran out to intervene and told ABC News he felt he wanted to protect the place he loves, saying, “This is our home. Don’t bring that into our house. This is a positive place, a loving place.”
According to host Tom Bergeron, Hough had a role in subduing the intruders.
“I heard [judge] Carrie Ann [Inaba] going, ‘There are more’” Bergeron said, referring to the protesters in the audience. “I turned to see Derek, you know, yelling for them to get out, and more security went up there, and then my main concern shifted to making sure Derek didn’t get hurt, because he left in defense of the show, which I love him for.”
Later, fellow contestants voiced support for Lochte. Former “Brady Bunch” star Maureen McCormick said, “I think it’s really sad that things like that happen. I’ve made a ton of stupid mistakes in my life. We need to just forgive people and move on.”
Amber Rose agreed, saying, “Everyone makes mistakes in their life, and it’s just not fair that somebody came out and ruined his moment. I’ve been around Ryan, and I think he’s really amazing and he’s a super-nice guy. It was just really unfair, and it made me sad for him.”
Marilu Henner was afraid for herself and others. “Don’t forget, we all have people here. It was scary.”
Earlier in the night, Lochte called the competition his “second chance.”
“My biggest regret is letting other people down, and now I want to prove to the world that I’ve changed,” he said.
ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” returns Monday, Sept. 19.