The people behind the Ryan Lochte protest on “Dancing with the Stars” are speaking out.
Sam Sotoodeh and Barzeen Soroudi addressed the media just after they were released from jail on Tuesday. Despite rushing the stage after Lochte’s first performance, Soroudi said the two had no intention of hurting the swimmer.
“We didn’t agree obviously with the Walt Disney Company choosing Lochte to represent Americans. Yes, he did receive gold medals, but what he did in Rio did not represent Americans well,” Soroudi said.
The protestor said his and Sotoodeh’s decision to walk onto the show’s dance floor stemmed from anger at Lochte’s “robbery” incident at the Rio Olympics (the two attended the games). After Lochte’s initial story was revealed as a fabrication, Soroudi said that “Americans became targets in Rio.”
“I want the world to know, I want America to know, that we don’t take what he did lightly,” Soroudi said. “He embarrassed Americans on the world’s stage and this was our form of protesting.”
Lochte and his partner, Cheryl Burke, were not harmed by the protestors when they came on the stage, though the swimmer said he felt a “a little hurt” after the incident.
“I came out here,” Lochte told “DWTS” host Tom Bergeron. “I wanted to do something I’m completely not comfortable with, and I did.”
According to ABC News, Sotoodeh and Soroudi are due back in court Oct. 4.