Speedo USA Drops Sponsorship of Ryan Lochte Amid Scandal, donates Lochte's $50k fee to children in Brazil
At least four companies have said today that they are ending or not renewing their relationships with embattled U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte after he admitted he "overexaggerated" a story about being held up at gunpoint in Rio de Janeiro.
Speedo USA, Ralph Lauren, skin care company Syneron-Candela and mattress maker Airweave have said that they will no longer be working with the swimmer.
"Speedo USA today announces the decision to end its sponsorship of Ryan Lochte," the company said in a statement. "As part of this decision, Speedo USA will donate a $50,000 portion of Lochte's fee to Save the Children, a global charity partner of Speedo USA's parent company, for children in Brazil."
"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 behavior that is counter to the values this brand has long stood for. We appreciate his many achievements and hope he moves forward and learns from this experience," the company added.
Meanwhile, Ralph Lauren, which also sponsored the disgraced swimmer during this year's Olympics, told ABC News that it would not be renewing his contract.
The company noted in a statement that it "continues to proudly sponsor the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic team and the values that its athletes embody."
"Ralph Lauren's endorsement agreement with Ryan Lochte was specifically in support of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and the company will not be renewing his contract," Ryan J. Lally, the vice president of global corporate communications for the company, said in a statement.
Similarly, Airweave said it "made the decision to end our partnership with Ryan Lochte" but would continue to support Team USA in the upcoming Paralympic Games.
Syneron-Candela also said it would be ditching the athlete, saying in a statement, "Syneron-Candela will be ending its partnership with Ryan Lochte. We hold our employees to high standards, and we expect the same of our business partners."
Lochte released a short statement after Speedo USA's announcement, according to The Associated Press.
"I respect Speedo's decision and am grateful for the opportunities that our partnership has afforded me over the years," the AP reported him as saying. "I am proud of the accomplishments that we have achieved together."
It wasn't immediately clear if the swimmer has responded to the other companies' announcements.
The 12-time Olympic medalist and reality TV star recently admitted that he "overexaggerated" when he claimed that he and three other U.S. swimmers were held up — with a gun cocked and pointed at his forehead — after leaving a party early one morning during the games.
"That's why I'm taking full responsibility for it," he told NBC News in a clip posted online. "I overexaggerated that story."
"That didn't happen," he said in the interview.
Instead, Brazilian police officials allege, the swimmers vandalized a bathroom at a gas station and were confronted by armed security guards.
U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun announced in Rio on Sunday that further action would be coming in the case. At a daily media briefing, he did not specify what disciplinary action would be taken, but he was clearly displeased with Lochte and the other three swimmers.