Tommy Callaway, a runner, caused a wave of controversy as he hit Alex Bozarjian, a female TV reporter’s butt while she was making a live report from a racing event that was taking place in Georgia.
The reporter and anchor from WSAV-TV, Bozarjian was doing her job as she was covering what was going on at the Savannah Bridge Run 10K on Saturday and she was surrounded by many joggers, running around and waving happily at the camera when one man stood out from the rest by moving closer to the journalist and smacking her from behind.
After the impact, the reporter could be seen standing with an open mouth for a while in silence while she was looking after her offender for a couple of moments, before going on with her live coverage.
Later during the same day, Bozarjian took it to social media to express how she felt about the incident, and she also opted to share a video clip of what happened.
The journalist described her post as a message to the man who assaulted her, saying that she was violated, objectified, and embarrassed.
Bozarjian also stated that no woman should ever have to put up with this at the workplace or anywhere else, and she urged people to “do better.”
She wrote: “To the man who smacked my butt on live TV this morning: You violated, objectified, and embarrassed me. No woman should EVER have to put up with this at work or anywhere!! Do better.”
To the man who smacked my butt on live TV this morning: You violated, objectified, and embarrassed me. No woman should EVER have to put up with this at work or anywhere!! Do better. https://t.co/PRLXkBY5hn
— Alex Bozarjian (@wsavalexb) December 7, 2019
After the video was posted, its message gathered the attention of many people, and one of them was the director of the Savannah Sports Council, Robert Wells, who claimed he would find the person responsible for the assault.
He said: “Alex, what happened today is 100% unacceptable. You have my assurance we will identify him.”
Furthermore, a colleague of Bozarjian, Caitlyn Penter, from North Carolina Station WLOS, commented too, and stated, “DO NOT TOUCH REPORTERS. Period”.
Callaway is a youth minister at Pittman Park UMC church. Moreover, the youth group leader is also a Boy Scout leader.
After his identity was revealed, Callaway deleted his social media profiles.
His lawyer, Joseph Turner, has put out the following statement: “He is a] loving husband and father who is very active in his community, he is working with those involved to correct the situation. While we regret the situation, Mr. Callaway did not act with any criminal intentions.”
"It's not okay to help yourself to a woman's body just because you feel like it… in order to make any kind of change, you have to be a little bit drastic. And you have to… chip away at this toxic culture that permeates our society." — @WSAVAlexB pic.twitter.com/tYsvu0uFiW
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) December 10, 2019
Bozarjian said that progress had been made in the area, but more needs to be done to get rid of that kind of behavior.
Savannah Sports Council has banned Callaway from taking parts in future events. Callaway has offered an apology late Tuesday night.
He told Inside Edition: “I was getting ready to bring my hands up and wave to the camera, to the audience, and there was a misjudgment in character and decision-making. I touched her back. I did not know exactly where I touched her.”
The married father of two also explained: “I totally agree 100 percent with her statement. The two most important words were her last two words, ‘Do better,’ and that’s my intention. If I did see her facial reaction, I would’ve been embarrassed, felt ashamed, and I would’ve stopped, turned around, and apologized to her. I feel horrible”
Reactions to Callaway’s interview were mixed and some argued that his apology was not heartfelt enough and he failed to take responsibility for what he did.