The man accused of slapping a reporter’s bottom during a live television report was arrested Friday, Savannah police said. Tommy Callaway, 43, was charged with misdemeanor sexual battery, Bianca Johnson of the Savannah police department confirmed to CBS News. Callaway posted bond, Johnson said.
Reporter Alex Bozarjian was covering the Enmarket Savannah Bridge Run on Saturday when a man ran by and appeared to slap her bottom. The stunning clip, posted to Twitter on Saturday morning, shows the reporter for NBC/CW+-affiliate WSAV-TV speaking on camera and smiling by the side of the race as participants fly by before the apparent slap occurred.
On Tuesday’s “CBS This Morning,” Bozarjian said Callaway slapped her bottom hard as he ran by her. In a clip of the incident that has been viewed more than 11 million times, Bozarjian then looks on with a shocked expression on her face as the married father of two runs away.
Bozarjian told “CBS This Morning” that while Callaway’s actions were more common several years ago, they’re unacceptable. “It’s not OK to help yourself to a woman’s body just because you feel like it,” she said. “It’s not playful. He hurt me, both physically and emotionally.”
Bozarjian filed a police report on the incident. On Wednesday, she said she supported criminal charges being filed against Callaway.
“I want to make it clear that this doesn’t mean I can’t/won’t forgive him,” Bozarjian said in a statement to CBS News. “I hope to get to that point eventually, but as in any sexual assault case, it has to be on my terms when I’m ready.”
Callaway told “Inside Edition” that he was going to wave at the camera and he got “caught up in the moment.”
Callaway responded to Bozarjian’s tweet telling him to “do better” on “Inside Edition.” “I totally agree 100% with her statement, and the two most important words were her last two words, ‘do better,’ and that’s my intention,” Callaway said.
In a statement to The Associated Press on Friday night, WSAV-TV said “the conduct displayed toward Alex Bozarjian during her live coverage of Saturday’s Savannah Bridge Run was reprehensible and completely unacceptable. No one should ever be disrespected in this manner. The safety and protection of our employees is WSAV-TV’s highest priority.”