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.
BREAKING: Someone just robbed Ryan Lochte at gunpoint on #DWTS 😱— Abbi Crutchfield (@curlycomedy) September 13, 2016
Ryan Lochte just got robbed at gunpoint on #DWTS! Or something happened.. I can't remember— Patrick Hill (@coolhandsomepat) September 13, 2016
"Well, they rushed the stage and told me to get on me knees then held a gun to my head and I was, like, 'Whatever'." - Ryan Lochte #DWTS— Jim Dempsey (@ChestPassDemps) September 13, 2016
Others were outraged by the protester who stormed the stage.
Regardless of what you feel about Ryan Lochte, physical violence is completely unacceptable. This is a dance competition not a trial. #DWTS— Princess ✨ (@Visionairess) September 13, 2016
feeling bad for lochte nobody deserves that especially on live tv #DWTS— ☾Mitraa (@mitramirae) September 13, 2016
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