The Slatest

Man Who Slapped Reporter’s Butt on Live TV Arrested on Sexual Battery Charge

Alex Bozarjian reacts after a man slaps her butt during a live television broadcast of the Enmarket Savannah Bridge Run on Dec. 7, 2019.
Alex Bozarjian reacts after a man slaps her butt during a live television broadcast of the Enmarket Savannah Bridge Run on Dec. 7, 2019. Screenshot/WSAV-TV

A runner who slapped a reporter’s butt on live television as she was covering a race in Georgia last weekend was arrested Friday on a misdemeanor charge of sexual battery. Thomas Callaway, 43, was arrested after turning himself in and was released on a $1,300 bond, police confirmed.

Callaway is accused of slapping reporter Alex Bozarjian’s butt as she was reporting at the Enmarket Savannah Bridge Run for NBC affiliate WSAV-TV. He was running at the event and his action, as well as Bozarjian’s stunned reaction, quickly went viral. Bozarjian later filed a sexual battery report with the Savannah Police Department. The report says she “described the smack as a ‘smack and grab,’ advising that he also grabbed her buttocks in the same motion. She stated she felt a sharp sting after the smack and advised that it caused her to pause during the broadcast.”

Shortly after the incident, Bozarjian sent a message to the man in a tweet: “You violated, objectified, and embarrassed me.”

In interviews, Bozarjian said the slap was painful. “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.”

Callaway has apologized and said “it was an awful act, it was an awful mistake.” He also said he feels “awful … embarrassed, and ashamed.” A lawyer for Callaway insisted in an interview that he “did not act with any criminal intentions.” But Bozarjian countered that his intentions did not really matter. “He took my power, and I’m trying to take that back,” Bozarjian said.

Bozarjian’s attorney, Gloria Allred, issued a statement saying that her client is “glad that law enforcement is taking this matter seriously.” Bozarjian “feels that a reporter should be able to do her job without being assaulted,” Allred added.