Ryan Lochte's Dancing With The Stars Debut Ambushed By Protesters

Ryan Lochte's much-anticipated debut on Dancing With the Stars got off to a bumpy start when two male protesters wearing anti-Lochte t-shirts stormed the stage of the popular ABC program, forcing it to cut to commercial, on Sept. 12, 2016.

According to People magazine, the two men "walked in front of host Tom Bergeron and yelled into the camera." One of the men was then "tackled by security guards and pushed into Lochte, [partner Cheryl] Burke and Bergeron" before being restrained on the ground. Subsequent footage posted to Twitter showed four women also wearing anti-Lochte t-shirts getting kicked out of the ballroom.

"Two individuals stormed the dance floor tonight and were immediately subdued and escorted out of the building," a spokesperson from BBC Worldwide Productions told The Hollywood Reporter. "The matter is now being handled by the authorities."

The incident errupted as Lochte and Burke's foxtrot was being critiqued by judge Carrie Ann Inaba. ABC cameras remained on Inaba throughout the incident as she yelled, "Excuse me! Hey, back off!" to the men bum-rushing the stage.

After the show returned from commercial, Lochte said, "[There are] so many feelings are going through my head." Fellow competitor and actress Jana Kramer told People that Lochte looked like he was "close to tears."

Heading into the premiere, many were expecting Lochte to try to use Dancing With the Stars to repair his reputation after his scandalous behavior at the Olympic Games in Rio in August 2016. The gold medalist became an international disgrace when he admitted to over-exaggerating a story in which he alleged that he and three other male swimmers were robbed at gunpoint during the Summer Games. Lochte's confession came only after Brazilian authorities began to poke holes in his story. He's since been charged by Brazilian police with filing a false robbery report, although it's unclear if he will actually return to Brazil to face the music.

After the dancing debacle, Lochte, 32, told E! News, It honestly feels as if someone reached inside, took out my heart out and just stepped on it." Still, thanks to support from Burke, he said, "I'm going to keep dancing." .

Lochte and Burke received a score of 24 out of 30 for their foxtrot.