The protesters who ambushed Ryan Lochte on Dancing With The Stars have defended their actions after being released from jail.
Sam Satoodeh and Barzeen Soroudi were arrested on suspicion of misdemeanour trespassing and each held on $1,000 (£755) bail after the pair rushed the stage on Monday to protest against the Olympic swimmer on the ABC ballroom dancing competition.
“Our purpose is to get the message out that Lochte is a coward, a liar and under Brazilian law, a criminal,” Satoodeh told ABC News outside jail on Tuesday.
Soroudi added that he believed Lochte “embarrassed Americans on the world’s stage, and this was our form of protesting against that”.
Lochte and some of his swimming team-mates have faced criticism since they were involved in an early-morning drunken encounter during the Olympics last month at a petrol station in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. They later claimed they were threatened and robbed.
Satoodeh and Soroudi rushed the stage in anti-Lochte T-shirts while the swimmer was receiving scores from judge Carrie Ann Inaba for his debut performance during a live instalment of the celebrity ballroom dance competition.
“Hey, back off,” Inaba said as the altercation was occurring off screen.
Good Morning America aired video that wasn’t shown during the live broadcast of Satoodeh being tackled on stage by security, and other protesters in the audience chanting “liar” as they were escorted out of the soundstage.
During the episode, the Olympic medallist performed a foxtrot routine with professional partner Cheryl Burke to Call Me Irresponsible. They received a combined score from the judges of 24 out of 40.
“When I was asked to do the show, the one thing that I kept hearing was that it was like joining a big family,” Lochte wrote in a statement posted on Wednesday on Instagram.
“After Monday’s incident, I now know what that means. I have gotten so much love from everyone on the show, including my partner Cheryl, my fellow competitors, the producers, the security team and its fans.”