Social media reactions to Ryan Lochte protest live on 'Dancing with the Stars'

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Tuesday, September 13, 2016
'Dancing with the Stars' host Tom Bergeron immediately cut to a commercial break after a protestor charged toward Ryan Lochte and Cheryl Burke at the judging panel.

The premiere of Dancing with the Stars was interrupted when a man reportedly rushed the stage as Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte and dance partner Cheryl Burke stood before the judge's panel. The incident, which happened live though off-camera, resulted in an onstage altercation with security that left the cast visibly shaken.

Reaction on social media initially reflected viewers' confusion as to what had just transpired on TV, but people quickly took sides. Many took the opportunity to mock Lochte who has become a constant target on social media, while others defending against the use of violence toward the disgraced athlete.

Many users mocked Lochte for his now infamous exaggeration of the gas station incident in Rio.

Others were outraged by the protester who stormed the stage.

Former Dancing with the Stars contestant Robert Herjavic of ABC's Shark Tank also defended Lochte.

Dancing with the Stars judge Carrie Ann Inaba also weighed in on Instagram, writing "We had a bit of a scary moment during tonight's live taping of @dancingabc, but thanks to our security team and incredible staff at #DWTS, no one got hurt. Only positive energy here tonight and always. Thank you."

Lochte's performance at the Olympics last month in Rio were overshadowed by an incident in which he and several teammates were involved in an altercation at a gas station. Lochte originally claimed he and the other U.S. swimmers had been held up at gunpoint before the story unraveled.

"That's why I'm taking full responsibility for it, because I overexaggerated the story," Lochte said of the incident. "If I had never done that, we wouldn't be in this mess."

Photos from Dancing with the Stars Week 1

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Marilu Henner & Derek Hough performed a jive, earning a score of 27/40.