When it was announced that Ryan Lochte would be joining this season of Dancing With the Stars, most of America and probably however much of the rest of the world cares about these things responded with a simultaneous “wait, but why?”
Dancing With the Stars has a long history of courting Olympians, but unless they’re not getting that Wheaties money, this seems like a big step down. But in the last month, Ryan Lochte has been in no position to turn down any step, in any direction. That doesn’t explain, though, why the show’s producers think this man-child is any sort of audience draw. I realize that I could be completely alone in my thinking, and don’t want to project an assumed disinterest on the rest of you— although seriously, none of you actually care about this man or this show AT ALL, right? And while previous seasons have occasionally found guest stars that might make us interested in this show for a few minutes, Ryan Lochte is nowhere near being that person. His “scandal” might make us care less, but it feels closer to a neutral. He is never going to push us one way or the other on this mediocrifest.
Except that this week’s premiere did feature a couple of people who make us want to pay attention, though neither of them is Lochte. But two men who were willing to take on the burden of making sure this douche-bro doesn’t get forgotten in the way most of us want to forget him, interrupted the show to remind him that NO ONE WANTS HIM THERE. In a display of spectacular timing, these two stormed the stage just as judge Carrie Ann Inaba started telling him he’s entitled to a second chance (THROUGH DANCE!). Because second chances are great, but not at all mandatory.
The double standard that Lochte has faced has not gone unnoticed over the last month.
Insulting how Gabby Douglas(20) was being told she needs to fix her attitude in Rio, but #LochteGate and crew are all "kids" who got rowdy.🙄— Lea (@_MissLeandra) August 18, 2016
I love that at the age of 32 Ryan Lochte is a "kid".— Laura Benanti (@LauraBenanti) August 21, 2016
At age of 32 actresses are playing the mom of someone 10 years younger than they are
white privilege is going to a foreign country, peeing on a business's floor & kicking in a door, & then saying YOU were robbed #LochteGate— Gabe Bergado (@gabebergado) August 18, 2016
Just this week, at TIFF, Gabrielle Union brought up Lochte’s privilege as a selling point for The Birth of a Nation.
“We’re not creating a movie, we’re creating a movement,” Union said. “If you were confused why Ryan Lochte was called a child, was referred to as a kid, and was celebrated and rewarded with a ‘Dancing with the Stars’ appearance, but you’re wondering why Tamir Rice was never referred to as a child but murdered within seconds for acting like a child, and you have a problem with that, this movie is for you as well.”
In the video above, you can see Lochte’s second chance, with some boring-ass white-suited dance moves, edited to play next to Inaba being interrupted as two protestors rush the stage. So apparently the interest in watching Lochte dance on television ranges from ‘nonexistent’ to ‘GET THE FUCK OFF MY TV.’
It’s clearly totally unintentional, but unintentionally PERFECT that in the coverage of this protest that’s being circulated, we never even have to see Lochte be bothered by the people who object to his behavior. I can’t think of anything more fitting than him having literally no interaction with those men. And while he definitely did, because they interrupted his time on stage, clearly no one knew how to show that.
Editing exists to streamline a story, and no one knows how to tell the story of Lochte facing consequences or criticism. The closest they could come is letting Lochte reiterate the “second chances” message. How heartwarming! Ryan Lochte, douche no one is holding accountable for anything, but rather throwing money at to capitalize on his lack of consequences, wants us to know that these protestors deserve the same second chance no one doubted he would have. How despicably perfect.