Man attempts to defend smacking TV presenter on bottom live on air by saying ‘I got caught up in the moment’

‘I did not see her facial reaction as I just kept on running. If I did see her facial reaction, I would have... turned around to apologise to her.’ 

Kate Ng
Friday 13 December 2019 16:19
Man who smacked TV presenter on bottom says he 'got caught up in the moment'

The man who objectified a TV reporter when he smacked her on the bottom during a live broadcast has spoken out, saying it was a “misjudge in character” and he “was caught up in the moment”.

Tommy Callaway, a 43-year-old youth minister and boy scout leader, spoke to newsmagazine Inside Edition in his first interview since a video of him smacking WSAV News reporter Alex Bozarjian went viral.

Ms Bozarjian was reporting roadside from a 10km race in Savannah, Georgia, when a male participant ran up from behind and smacked her.

She appears visibly shocked in the footage, but continues her report after collecting herself.

Mr Callaway was identified as the runner who smacked her shortly after the video, which Ms Bozarjian posted on her Twitter, went viral.

He apologised and said: “I was caught up in the moment. I was getting ready to bring my hands up and wave to the camera to the audience, there was a misjudge in character and decision-making.”

He went on to say: “I touched her back; I did not know exactly where I touched her.”

In her tweet about the incident, Ms Bozarjian said: “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.”

Mr Callaway said he agreed with her statement, and went on to explain: “I did not see her facial reaction as I just kept on running.

“If I did see her facial reaction, I would have felt embarrassed and ashamed and stopped and turned around to apologise to her.”

His attorney said he is a “loving husband and father” who did not have any “criminal intentions”.

In an interview with CBS This Morning, Ms Bozarjian said she filed a police report about the incident, but has not yet decided whether to press charges.

“I think immediately after [the incident], you kind of sort through the vulnerability of the situation, you are inundated with some female guilt,” she said.

She added: “It’s not okay to help yourself to a woman’s body just because you feel like it.”

Mr Callaway and Inside Edition, which is owned by CBS News, have received criticism on social media.

One person said: “That dude literally changed lanes and popped the creepy bottom lip bite to smack her a**. Are you new or do you think we are?”

Another person said: “I don’t want to hear his side. I know that a country that puts rapists in the White House and Supreme Court prefers to coddle sexual assailants, so I shouldn’t be surprised.

“Just once, can’t we silence the assailant?”

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments