A runner, who inappropriately touched a woman reporter covering a race in Georgia, has been arrested.
Thomas Callaway, a 43-year-old, was arrested Friday and charged with sexual battery. Alex Bozarjian, a reporter at the US television station WSAV, was covering the Savannah Bridge Run when Callaway sexually harassed her.
Bozarjian, later took to Twitter to call the man out for his indecent behaviour, and wrote: “To the man who smacked my butt on live TV this morning: You violated, objectified, and embarrassed me,”. She also posted footage of the live telecast along with her post.
Bozarjian’s tweet and the footage went viral, which prompted outrage. Callaway was soon identified after netizens came together to find his identity based on his race bib number. The reporter’s channel also criticised the man’s actions.
“The conduct displayed toward Alex Bozarjian during her live coverage of Saturday’s Savannah Bridge Run was reprehensible and completely unacceptable,” the Savannah television station said in a statement Friday evening. “No one should ever be disrespected in this manner. The safety and protection of our employees is WSAV-TV’s highest priority.”
After being identified, Callaway admitted to his actions and apologised on-air. In an Inside Edition interview, he said that it was a misjudgement “in character and decision making”. Speaking about Bozarjian’s viral tweet, Callaway said that he agreed with her statement and will try to “do better”.
Callaway said he didn’t intend to slap the reporter on the rear. He said he was raising his arm trying to pat her on the back or the shoulder and didn’t realize until seeing the video that he had touched her buttocks.
Watch the interview here:
Responding to Callaway’s arrest, Bozarjian released a statement in which she said she was happy that authorities were taking the matter seriously. She also said she would appear as a witness if the case goes to trial.
— Alex Bozarjian (@wsavalexb) December 14, 2019
Here are some reactions to her statement:
Alex Bozarjian, Thank You for Standing Up and Speaking Out Loud For All Us Women!!!! You are a True ROLE MODEL for Young Girls and Boys to Look Up to……
— Cathy Roland (@cmroland71471) December 14, 2019
This is for all the women that have been passively assaulted and never felt safe about speaking up about it. Thanks
— NOT Melany Garcia (@NotMelany) December 15, 2019
Hi Ms. Bozarjian. I am so sorry that you were assaulted. Watching the look on your face when it happened broke my heart. I hope that justuce is served and that your attacker gets what he deserves.
— Craig Hochscheid (@CraigHochscheid) December 15, 2019
GOOD FOR YOU! Stay strong! NO ONE has a right to take someone’s body as they please. It is NEVER harmless. NEVER okay! #MeToo
— Ayfkm (@ayfkmnow) December 15, 2019
I stand with you!!
— Kelly (@kellys_022) December 15, 2019
His was inappropriate behavior and his apology was nothing more than hiding behind an excuse – the same that so many use to excuse much worse violations of a person.
— Dexter (@CubicleDexter) December 14, 2019
you are so strong!!!
— Livy D aka The Rap God (@oliviamdempsey) December 14, 2019
Keep fighting the good fight. Thank you.
— Jessica Smith (@Jessica29095828) December 15, 2019
Sexual battery is a misdemeanour in Georgia, punishable by up to a year in jail. State law defines the crime as making “physical contact with the intimate parts of the body of another person without the consent of that person.”
With inputs from AP