Cheryl Burke is stepping up in support of her “Dancing With the Stars” partner Ryan Lochte, after the Olympic swimmer was ambushed by protesters on Monday night.
In a statement posted to her Instagram account, Burke asserted, “No one deserves that sort of behavior directed at them.”
She added, “My heart is aching for Ryan and his family.”
As previously reported, Lochte was confronted by two protesters as he danced with Burke on Monday night. The protesters screamed “liar” at the swimmer, an apparent reference to Lochte’s gas station incident in Rio de Janeiro during the Olympics.
Video footage aired by “Good Morning America” showed a security guard taking one of the protesters to the ground.
In her message, Burke went on to thank fans for their concern, writing, “I’m still trying to process everything that happened last night.”
She also thanked the “Dancing With the Stars” security team.
“We all need to love each other and not be bullies or cowards,” Burke added. “Let’s all just be positive for each other.”
The suspended Olympic swimmer made his debut on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” Monday, but the show had to jump to an emergency commercial break when two audience members heckled Lochte and stormed the stage.
In a statement to TheWrap, BBC Worldwide Productions, which develops and produces the show, said, “Two individuals stormed the dance floor tonight and were immediately subdued and escorted out of the building. The matter is now being handled by the authorities.”
Read Burke’s full statement above.