A community 10K run in Georgia on Saturday was the scene of an offensive slap and dash incident live on the air, as a passing runner apparently swatted the behind of a reporter who was on camera providing info on the race to WSAV viewers.
Reporter Alex Bozarjian jumped at the aggression before re-composing herself to finish her broadcast, as the stream of runners continued past, mugging right behind her for the camera.
She later sent out an indignant tweet, saying: “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
The director of the Savannah Sports Council, Robert Wells, responded to the tweet, vowing to identify the offender …
Alex, what happened today is 100% unacceptable. You have my assurance we will identify him.
— Robert Wells (@RobWells1) December 7, 2019
Wells also tweeted, “This will not be tolerated at our events. Glad we have race bibs and photos for easy identification.”
A captured still from the video shows that a man wearing hat and sunglasses was the one doing the dirty deed …
TV reporter smacked on bottom during live broadcast: ‘You violated, objectified, and embarrassed me’: Authorities promise to take action against runner after WSAV New’s Alex… https://t.co/UyUiyuZPsW pic.twitter.com/XY3ZzDAbOF
— CITIZENS for CHANGE™ ? (@cfcpac) December 8, 2019
A Savannah Police Department spokesperson told NBC News: “We’ve talked to [Bozarjian] about the situation. I can’t discuss it further, but it’s up to Alexandrea on how she wants to handle the situation. “All I can say is we have made contact with Alexandrea and we are definitely going to be working with her in any capacity on how she’d like to move forward with this incident,” said Keturah Greene, SPD public information coordinator.
NBC reported, that although they have not yet been able to confirm the identity of the man, “… the Savannah Sports Council said the man has been banned from participating in its races.”
Social media responses have been solidly supportive and sympathetic. Reporter Caitlyn Penter of WLOS tweeted, “DO NOT TOUCH REPORTERS. Period.”
DO NOT TOUCH REPORTERS. Period. https://t.co/HIC6Uxs0Im
— Caitlyn Penter (@CaitlynWLOS) December 7, 2019
— Emma Hamilton WJCL (@EmmaHamiltonTV) December 7, 2019
I’m so sorry this happened Alex. Let’s see if the @SavannahSports Council or @SavPolice do the bare minimum which is use this video to identify this man and at the VERY least ban him from any future runs/events
— Carmine Falcone (@vviilliam) December 7, 2019
The annual Enmarket Savannah Bridge Run takes place over 1.9 mile Talmadge Memorial Bridge spanning the Savannah River, with options for 5K, 10K and 15K runs.
Female reporters have been victimized multiple times by on-air assaults. Julieth Gonzalez Theran, a reporter for German TV news channel Deutsche Welle, was groped and kissed while covering the World Cup in Russia in 2018.
Earlier this year, a man was charged with misdemeanor harassment after attempting to kiss a Kentucky reporter, Sara Rivest, during a broadcast in Kentucky.
In 2016, a Belgian journalist, Esmerelda Labye, was sexually assaulted during her on-air report from a Cologne, Germany carnival.
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