The two men who ambushed the Dancing With the Stars stage in protest of contestant Ryan Lochte do not regret their actions.
Sam Sotoodeh and Barzeen Soroudi spoke to reporters following their release from jail on Tuesday, explaining their motivation behind the frightening incident.
"Our purpose is to get the message out that Lochte is a coward, a liar and under Brazilian law, a criminal," Sotoodeh, 59, told multiple outlets, criticizing the security team for using what he felt was excessive force when tackling him to the ground. "I don't understand why the people there did that. I wasn't even going towards Lochte, I was going in a different direction," the heckler said, citing bruises on his arms and back and neck pain.
Both men maintain they had no intentions of physically hurting the Olympic swimmer, but instead were protesting Lochte being cast on the competition series following his involvement in the Rio robbery scandal that overshadowed the 2016 Summer Games.
"It was just a protest, a non-violent protest," 25-year-old Soroudi explained. "We didn't agree obviously with the Walt Disney Company choosing Lochte to represent Americans. Yes, he did receive gold medals but what he did in Rio did not represent Americans well."
Sotoodeh and Soroudi, who attended the games, say they saw the "climate change" amid allegations that Ryan had fabricated the story. "All of a sudden, Americans became targets in Rio. The Brazilians felt insulted and it became very difficult for Americans there," Barzeen continued.
He added, "I want the world to know, I want America to know, that we don't take what he did lightly. He embarrassed Americans on the world's stage and this was our form of protesting."
As for his overnight stay in the LAPD Metropolitan Detention Center, Barzeen said he has "absolutely" no regrets, admitting, "I wouldn't mind going back."
In the aftermath of the incident, Lochte told E! News that it felt like "someone reached inside and ripped my heart out and stepped on it."
Both Sotoodeh and Soroudi are due back in court Oct. 4, according to ABC News.