Sponsors cut ties with US swimmer Ryan Lochte over false robbery claim

Four sponsors have cut ties with embattled U.S. swimmer, Ryan Lochte over his alleged robbery attack in Rio.

USA TODAY reported that Speedo announced early Monday it dropped its sponsorship of the swimmer. By the end of the day, three other companies also said they would cut ties with Lochte.

The decisions to cut ties with Lochte came after a week-long saga that led to Lochte and three other swimmers to be questioned by Rio authorities after Lochte alleged they were robbed at gunpoint.

Ralph Lauren and a laser hair removal company announced they would also sever their respective sponsor relationships with the 32-year-old swimmer.

“While we have enjoyed a winning relationship with Ryan for over a decade and he has been an important member of the Speedo team, we cannot condone the behavior that is counter to the values this brand has long stood for,” Speedo USA said in a statement.

Ralph Lauren, which outfitted Team USA for the opening and closing ceremonies, told CNBC on Monday that it would not renew its current deal with Lochte. Lochte was one of the highlighted athletes on Ralph Lauren’s website modeling Team USA gear.

Syneron-Candela, the parent company of Gentle Hair Removal where Lochte served as a spokesperson, confirmed that it had cut Lochte loose. And, late Monday, airweave, a mattress company, said it had “ended its partnership” with Lochte.

“We hold our employees to high standards, and we expect the same of our business partners,” Syneron-Candela said in a statement. “We wish Ryan well on his future endeavors and thank him for the time he spent supporting our brand.”

Speedo said it will donate a portion of Lochte’s $50,000 fee to the global charity Save The Children.

Lochte had originally told reporters that he and fellow American swimmers Jack Conger, Gunnar Bentz and Jimmy Feigen were pulled over while they were in a taxi by men with badges in the early morning hours of Aug. 14. But, he gave a different account in another interview which eventually called into question by Rio police. A judge thereafter ordered the four to remain in the country last Wednesday.

Lochte made it back to the U.S. on Wednesday, while Conger, Bentz and Feigen remained in Brazil to face questions about what exactly occurred at the gas station where the incident took place. Police alleged the swimmers vandalized a bathroom and security guards at the gas station demanded the swimmers pay for the damage, which they did.

Lochte, in an interview with NBC over the weekend, admitted he “over-exaggerated” some details.

“It’s how you want to make it look like, whether you call it a robbery, whether you call it extortion or us paying just for the damages, we don’t know,” Lochte told NBC’s Matt Lauer. “All we know is there was a gun pointed in our direction and we were demanded to give money.”

*Photo shows Lochte.



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