Derek Hough Calls Out The ‘Cowards’ Who Protested Ryan Lochte On ‘Dancing With The Stars’

The incident with Ryan Lochte during the premiere of Dancing With The Stars seems to have left many with a sour taste in their mouths while seeking a restart to the entire season. Two men rushed the stage of the show while wearing shirts featuring Lochte’s name and a “no symbol” on top of it, clearly in response to Lochte’s part in the Rio robbery scandal. The men were joined by at least four women in the audience who were escorted out of the studio.

One of the main players getting credit for defusing the situation is returning dancer Derek Hough, reportedly being one of the first to rush from backstage and help with getting the protestors out of the studio. Hough shared his reactions fairly soon after the event, speaking with People Magazine and putting out the videos from Snapchat above:

During the commercial break, four women in similar shirts as the men continued to boo until Hough ran out on stage and yelled “get them out of here” to security.

“This is my home and I was just so shocked that people would come here and be so negative,” Hough, 31, exclusively tells PEOPLE. “This is a safe place for people to learn a new skill and seek redemption or start a new chapter in their life and that’s what Ryan is trying to do and I just felt so defensive that someone would try and ruin that for him and for everyone watching, so I took it upon myself to make sure they were escorted out. I wanted to protect my home.”

Contestant Jana Kramer also spoke about the incident and Ryan Lochte’s reaction once he returned backstage:

“Ryan was backstage and close to tears. Everyone makes mistakes and I really hope America gets to see the guy we are all getting to know, which is a really, really nice guy.”

On top of these reactions, Olympic medalist Eddie Moses was in attendance and uploaded another angle of the situation onto Instagram. The videos show a different view of the men being subdued on stage and give us a look at the women protesting in the audience. You can see them being led out around the end of the clip:

This was followed by a standing ovation in the crowd and a “Ryan” chant in support of the controversial swimmer.

No word on if Lochte will stick around for the duration of the dancing showcase, but it seems like Hough and the viewing audience are keen to calm his worries.

(Via People / Buzzfeed)