A reporter who was slapped from behind by a runner while covering a race in Savannah, Georgia shares her side of the story on CBS This morning.
Author: Douglas Jones (CCT), TEGNA (CCT)
WASHINGTON — A local news reporter is speaking out to the nation after she says she was “violated, objectified, and embarrassed” when, as she describes, she was assaulted on live TV while trying to do her job.
WSAV-TV reporter Alex Bozarjian spoke to CBS This Morning about the incident and says a man running in a race she was covering “helped himself to a part of my body” when he appeared to slap her from behind on camera.
Bozarjian was covering the Savannah Bridge Run for WSAV-TV with a shot of the stream of runners coming across the bridge, behind her.
It was an exciting scene of residents from the area running in a race, which is a big event for that part of south Georgia.
Bozarjian was facing the camera describing the atmosphere for viewers watching live when a runner appeared to separate from the group as he approached her. In the video you see the runner get very close to the reporter and appear to slap her on the butt. Bozarjian’s jaw drops in disbelief, and her face turns to utter shock as she continues to try and report live, stumbling over her words.
Bozarjian retweeted video of the incident posted by another Twitter user saying, “No woman should EVER have to put up with this at work or anywhere!!”
The original video has been viewed over 10 million times.
Bozarjian, appearing on CBS This Morning Tuesday said the moment “took some time to process, but it was was extremely vulnerable,” going on the say that “the reason why it has caught so much fire is because the emotion is extremely relateable for women all over the world.”
Bozarjian described the slap as a “heavy impact” and says she has watched the video many times.
The runner has been identified as Tommy Callaway of Statesboro, Georgia. Twitter users banded together when the video was first posted and were able to first identify Callaway using frame grabs from the video and Callaway’s runner’s bib number when race results were posted online after the race.
Bozarjian told CBS This Morning that she has actually felt some “female guilt” saying that the social media attention brought that on. She says there has also been an outpouring of support by people of all ages, men and women. Bozarjian also says some have said she “put herself in the line of fire” by reporting from where she did, but she says “maybe that come from a misunderstanding of what live reporting is.”
Tommy Callaway’s attorney Joseph Turner says that Callaway “did not act with any criminal intentions. Tommy is a loving husband and father…we do not expect any criminal charges.”
When asked if she is interested in hearing more of what Callway has to say, Bozarjian says, “I think what is most important here is that, he took my power, and I’m trying to take that back.”
Bozarjian says she wants to take her time on this matter.
Callaway spoke to WSAV-TV to explain his side of the situation. Bozarjian has filed a policed report with the Savannah Police Department for sexual battery.