The Ryan Lochte Comeback Tour hit a bit of a snag Monday night. The 12-time Olympic medalist and Brazilian gas station vandal was accosted by protesters who rushed the stage following his first performance as a contestant on the TV show Dancing with the Stars.
The fracas went down live on ABC. Lochte and partner Cheryl Burke were in the process of listening to a critique from Carrie Ann Inaba when suddenly the judge yelled: "Excuse me! Hey, back off! Excuse me! Excuse me! Off off!" Host Tom Bergeron quickly threw it to a commercial while telling everybody to "take a deep breath."
Two men were tackled by security while four women in the audience chanted "Liar! Liar!"
The protesters were photographed outside the building in handcuffs. Their t-shirts matched those worn by the women hecklers, with the word "LOCHTE" surrounded by the traditional red circle and slash. We can surmise that these people are either very mad at the swimmer or members of the ancient, mystic society of "No Lochtes."
Lochte did his best to compose himself as he was being interviewed by Bergeron following the commercial break, but fellow contestant Jana Kramer witnessed his emotional reaction once the cameras were off and seemed genuinely moved by his plight:
"Ryan was backstage and close to tears. Everyone makes mistakes and I really hope America gets to see the guy we are all getting to know, which is a really, really nice guy."
It gets worse; from the horse's mouth:
After the show, Lochte said, "We thought it was a joke, something part of the show, but when we realized it wasn't, that hurt, that broke my heart, that people are still on that subject and no one's moving forward."
And so it has come to this, America. Our bro Ryan Lochte went abroad and embarrassed the nation with his drunken bro antics, it is true, but he has also voluntarily entered our sacred arena of celebrity repentance—reality television. The time has come to sit back and let a bro atone for his sins. Surely there are other, more despicable bros in the world worthy of our protests.