2 protesters charged with storming ‘Dancing With the Stars’ stage after Ryan Lochte performance

Share via

Two men were charged Monday for rushing the “Dancing With the Stars” stage during a live taping to protest the appearance Olympian swimmer Ryan Lochte, officials said.

Barzeen Soroudi, 25, and Sam Sotoodeh, 59, were charged with interfering with the Sept. 12 performance and leaving a spectator area and entering upon a stage, according to the Los Angeles city attorney’s office.

If convicted, the men face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Soroudi and Sotoodeh are scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 4 in a Los Angeles Superior courtroom.


Soroudi and Sotoodeh had tickets to be in the audience and had planned to confront the disgraced Olympian at the ballroom dance show at CBS Television City studios in the 7800 block of Beverly Boulevard, according to Officer Mike Lopez of the Los Angeles Police Department.

“The suspects posed as audience members, then changed clothes to display anti-Lochte T-shirts to disrupt the show,” Lopez said.

Then, as judge Carrie Ann Inaba assessed Lochte and his dance partner, Cheryl Burke, the men stormed the stage.

One of the men was tackled by private security guards before they could make contact with Lochte and Burke. After the incident, the show abruptly moved to a commercial break. Officers took Soroudi and Sotoodeh to the LAPD’s Wilshire Division to be booked on suspicion of trespassing.

The incident was not captured on live TV, but ABC released footage the following day showing one of the men onstage and yelling “You’re a liar.”

Lochte later told host Tom Bergeron, “So many feelings are going through my head right now,” and that he was “a little hurt.”


During the show, dancing pro Derek Hough confronted a group of women in the audience who also wore anti-Lochte T-shirts.

“Get out of here, c’mon on, get out,” he yelled at the women. “This is a good show, a positive show.”

Lochte’s appearance on the show came just weeks after he lied about being robbed at gunpoint during the Summer Olympics in August in Rio de Janeiro. He initially said he and his fellow swimmers had left a party in the Olympic Village and were in a taxi when men posing as police robbed them at gunpoint. Lochte later changed his story.

Brazilian police subsequently charged Lochte with a false robbery report after officials alleged the swimmers were not robbed and had been confronted by employees for vandalizing a gas station restroom.

U.S. team officials banned Lochte for 10 months and he’s required to perform 20 hours of community service. He’s also barred from competing in the 2017 world championships.

Staff writer Matt Hamilton contributed to this report.


For breaking news in California, follow VeronicaRochaLA on Twitter.


Two men are charged in Fullerton triple homicide

Deputy and jail inmate among three seriously injured in head-on crash in Long Beach

Investigators think they know who tore up Death Valley’s fragile Racetrack Playa in an SUV