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Cheryl Burke Releases Statement Following Ryan Lochte Ambush On Dancing With The Stars

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Cheryl Burke and Ryan Lochte had a bit of a rough start to the new season of Dancing With the Stars…but it wasn’t their dance moves or harsh judges that caused it.

Rather, the pair found themselves in the middle of an anti-Lochte protest as two hecklers rushed toward them onstage during the live taping of the premiere on Monday. Luckily, security was able to tackle and detain the men before anything dangerous ensued, but Burke is still shaken up from the whole incident.

Sharing a statement on Instagram, the dancer wrote, “Thank you to everyone for your concern. I’m still trying to process everything that happened last night. My heart is aching for Ryan and his family. No one deserves that sort of behavior directed at them.”

She continued, “We all need to love each other and not be bullies or cowards. Let’s all just be positive for each other. My heartfelt thanks goes out to the security team at Dancing with the Stars. Love you all, Xoxo Cheryl.”

Lochte also spoke to E! News about the frightening moment. “It’s hard. I’m getting over it though,” he said, adding, “It honestly feels like someone reached inside, took out my heart out and just stepped on it.”

He continued, “It was really hard, but I turned to Cheryl and she looked at me and smiled and said, ‘You just danced in front of millions!’ So I’m going to move forward and keep dancing.”

An eyewitness told E! News that men wearing the white anti-Lochte T-shirts rushed the stage in what looked to be an attempt to attack the Olympian before the security team stopped them. The protesters were immediately kicked out from the show to the sound of the crowd booing.

“Everyone was freaked out, especially Ryan and Cheryl. They were just frozen the entire time in utter shock,” the insider told us.

Host Tom Bergeron cut to commercial break immediately after the moment, but upon return, a noticeably shaken Lochte said, “I’m doing good. So many feelings are going through my head right now. A little hurt. I came out here and I wanted to do something I was completely uncomfortable with, and I did.”

Burke echoed his sentiments, telling Bergeron, “I’m hurt for Ryan. He’s sweet, he’s kind. He’s working his butt off. I hope people give him a chance.”