A Georgia man who assaulted a reporter during a live TV segment can’t really explain his actions, except to say he was “caught up in the moment.”
WSAV-TV reporter Alex Bozarjian was covering the Savannah Bridge Run in Savannah, Georgia, on Saturday when the man, later identified as Tommy Callaway of Statesboro, smacked her backside while she was on camera.
“No woman should EVER have to put up with this at work or anywhere!! Do better,” Bozarjian tweeted afterward, saying she felt “violated, objectified, and embarrassed” by what the man did.
A video of the incident went viral, and internet sleuths identified Callaway as the man who slapped Bozarjian.
Callaway, 43, a Boy Scout leader and church youth volunteer, told “Inside Edition” that assaulting the reporter came down to a “misjudge.” But he would only acknowledge that he “touched her back.”
“I was caught up in the moment,” he said. “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. I touched her back; I did not know exactly where I touched her.”
Callaway doesn’t say the words “I’m sorry” during the segment.
Asked about Bozarjian’s tweet, Callaway told “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.”
He then imagined that he would have behaved differently if he’d turned around and seen Bozarjian’s shocked face.
“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 apologize to her.”
According to a police report obtained by HuffPost, Callaway eventually called the station and offered to drive down to apologize to Bozarjian in person. The reporter told police that Callaway’s messages were relayed to her by fellow employees and that she has not had contact with him.
But Bozarjian told “CBS This Morning” on Tuesday that she was reluctant to accept Callaway’s explanation for his actions.
“He took my power, and I’m trying to take that back,” she said. “Whether I’m open to that or not, I want to take my time with that. I think what it really comes down to is, he helped himself to a part of my body.”
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.