Update: As we learned moments ago, Ryan Lochte has now lost his last two remaining sponsorships, those with Airweave and Gentle Hair Removal, meaning as of this moment, his Rio gas station "exager-gate" stint has cost him all of his future advertising endorsements.
Now if only he could find employment at the Clinton foundation...
Ryan Lochte's drunken night out with his fellow US olympic team swimmers, culminating with a fabricated explanation of what happened at a particular Rio gas station, may end up being the costliest "fib" in the history of the Olympics. The reason: Lochte has already lost two of his core sponsors, when first swimwear maker Speedo USA said earlier today it had decided to end its sponsorship of Ryan Lochte, two days after the U.S. Olympic gold medalist swimmer admitted to exaggerating his story about being robbed at gunpoint in Rio de Janeiro, followed promptly by luxury retailer Ralph Lauren Corp, which also said it would not be renewing its contract with the swimmer.
Speedo USA said it would donate $50,000 of Lochte's fee to Save The Children, a global charity partner of Speedo USA's parent company. "We cannot condone behavior that is counter to the values this brand has long stood for," Nottingham, UK-based Speedo's U.S. unit said in a statement on Monday.
Later Monday, Ralph Lauren issued a statement saying it would not be renewing Lochte's contract. "Ralph Lauren continues to proudly sponsor the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Team and the values that its athletes embody," the statement read. "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." The company had taken down any reference to the gold medalist from its website.
Ryan Lochte's name & image has been taken off the Olympic endorser page on Ralph Lauren's website pic.twitter.com/NKZhTm8peU— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) August 21, 2016
Lochte, who admitted he was drunk in the early-morning hours of Aug. 14, destroyed a sign at a gas station. He and the swimmers were then held by security guards with guns at the gas station and released after they paid a fee. Lochte later said in an interview with NBC how the swimmers were robbed at gunpoint, however after video evidence emerged refuting his story, he subsequently apologized on Saturday in an interview to Brazil's largest broadcaster, Globo TV. "I wasn't lying to a certain extent," he said. "I over-exaggerated what was happening to me." Today, he made more statements, saying "I respect Speedo's decision and am grateful for the opportunities that our partnership has afforded me over the years. I am proud of the accomplishments that we have achieved together."
While Lochte's little stint has likely cost him millions in endorsements, the silver lining is that he still has two other deals, one with mattress company Airweave and another with Gentle Hair Removal.
According to ESPN, Airweave CEO Motokuni Takaoka said last week in a statement that Lochte "will remain a US ambassador for Airweave as long as our partnership agreement remains effective."
Syneron-Candela, the parent company of Gentle Hair Removal, said last week said that the company would "reserve decisions until we have a more complete understanding of the situation."
The bad news should not come as a surprise to Lochte who when asked by NBC's Matt Lauer if his original version of the story could cost him his endorsements, Lochte answered it could. "And that's something I'm going to have to live with," Lochte said.
The loss of endorsements may not be all the bad news: Lochte also faces potential disciplinary action from the U.S. Olympic Committee, with CEO Scott Blackmun saying Sunday that further action was coming. USA Swimming and the IOC could both sanction Lochte.
And now that the US public has finally gotten Lochte out of its system, it can resume its focus on the daily sitcom that is the presidential election, where lies far greater and more damaging than anything Lochte came up with, continue to be lobbed by the hour.