To put it mildly, it is tough to be Ryan Lochte these days. Sure, he is a wealthy, Olympic medalist so life can be worse, but he has been through the ringer in the media. Everyone is disappointed in Ryan for lying about getting robbed at gunpoint, so wasn’t surprising that he joined Dancing With the Stars to rehab his tarnished image. Unfortunately for the swimmer, that’s not going well so far, since protesters rushed the stage during the premiere episode.
If anyone needs to be on this show, it’s Ryan Lochte. Undoing his poor reputation, is going to take a lot of effort and I’m not just talking about nailing his routines on the dance floor. This is going to be a rough road ahead if he survives elimination. No matter how you feel about the Olympian, you have to admit that it was probably scary to encounter those protesters.
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If you watched the DWTS premiere episode and you like you missed something, don’t worry, you’re not going crazy: the actual incident was not shown on camera. Instead, the camera focused on judge Carrie Ann Inaba.
According to a report from ABC News, “Two suspects, who were wearing anti-Lochte shirts, were taken into custody after being tackled by security as they walked onto the ballroom floor after Lochte’s performance. Four or five women who were yelling anti-Lochte chants around the same time were escorted from the audience.” Who knew that the DWTS fans were so rowdy? I feel bad for anyone (even Ryan Lochte) with so many people against him, but this controversy is more interesting than the actual dancing.
When Ryan was asked how he felt in response to the protest, he admitted, “So many feelings are going through my head right now. I’m a little hurt.” If you have trouble sympathizing for him, you might feel differently knowing that he also said, “You know, at that moment, I was really heartbroken. My heart just sunk. It felt like somebody just ripped it apart.” Sure, that’s probably not enough to get the haters to back off from Ryan, but it is still sad to hear.
Ryan’s dancing partner Cheryl Burke reacted to the incident: “I’m shocked and hurt for Ryan. He’s an amazing guy. He’s great, he’s kind, and he’s just here working his butt off and trying to do what he’s supposed to be doing, which is dancing. So I hope people give him a chance.”
Cheryl isn’t the only DWTS pro who had Ryan’s back last night. Derek Hough actually helped throw out the protesters in the audience. In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Derek explained, “I basically told them aggressively that they need to leave because you don’t do that here. And I think that they looked like fools because [Ryan] just did a great dance and he’s out there doing what he can do. We’re all human beings,.”
Not only did Derek help quell the controversy, but he also spoke out about why he thinks the audience members were inappropriate: “I felt the energy in the room change. I’m really sensitive to that, honestly. I got really defensive, not just for Ryan, but for the ballroom, for the show.”
With that said, Derek wasn’t just trying to protect the integrity of the show. He also expressed that his sympathy for Ryan when he said, “All I know is we’ve all done stuff. We’ve all made mistakes. We’ve all done things and unfortunately, his was out in the open. But you know what, let’s all be there for each other, man. Let’s have some passion and let’s actually forgive. Let’s move on. Let’s look to the future and not the past.”
This is not going to be an easy ride for Ryan. It will be very interesting to see how long he last in the competition and how he continues to be perceived.
TELL US: DID RYAN DESERVE THE PROTEST OR WAS IT INAPPROPRIATE?
[Photo Credit: ABC]