TMZ caught up with 25-year-old Barzeen Soroudi and 59-year-old Sam Sotoodeh on Tuesday afternoon, and the duo provided a number of reasons for their choice in rushing the stage during the live television show. Soroudi had this to say about the decision of the Walt Disney Company to include Lochte on the program and his personal thoughts from Rio:
“We didn’t, obviously, agree with 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.”
“We were actually at the Olympics, so what happened was… once Lochte did what he did, embarrassed Americans, lied to Brazil… the climate changed. So all the sudden, Americans became targets in Rio. The Brazilians obviously felt insulted and it became very difficult for many Americans there.”
Later, Sotoodeh pushed back on the actions of security officials in diffusing the situation, running down his list of ailments in the aftermath. In addition, Soroudi spoke about being in Rio for the Olympics and how he felt the situation affected him personally.
Soroudi and Sotoodeh have already been referred to as “cowards” by at least one person affiliated with the show, and it seems doubtful that their on-air reflections for TMZ will garner any real support. At this point, this remains a tremendously bizarre situation that, quite fortunately, did not result in any serious harm to Lochte or anyone else on the television set.
Details will undoubtedly continue to emerge in this particular case, but for now, the protestors are free to speak their mind and everyone is safe.