A journalist reporting live from a race in Georgia had an unpleasant experience on Saturday as a runner slapped her on the behind before jogging ahead.
Now, with netizens up in arms over the incident, the perpetrator has been identified as a local youth minister, Tommy Callaway. Social media users identified him through the number on his runner's bib.
According to Heavy, he is a youth group leader at his church (Pittman Park UMC), as well as a Boy Scout leader. Reportedly, he is married with daughters and works as a salesman. Since his identification he has locked down his social media accounts.
A statement posted by his lawyer, Joseph Turner of The Turner Firm adds that while the incident was regrettable, Callaway "did not act with any criminal intentions".
Since then Callaway has reportedly apologised. Speaking to Inside Edition he said that he 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 reportedly said, adding that he did not know "exactly where I touched her" on her back.
In the video that has been repeatedly shared on social media, WSAV-TV reporter, Alex Bozarjian looks visibly shocked and discomfited as the person continued his run after slapping her. She then gathers herself to continue her broadcast.
Taking to Twitter Bozarjian wrote, "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."
The Savannah Sports Council, which organised the Enmarket Savannah Bridge Run has since banned Callaway "from registering for all Savannah Sports Council owned races".
"Yesterday afternoon we identified him and shared his information with the reporter and her station. We will not tolerate behavior like this at a Savannah Sports Council event," the Council said.
Harassment of female journalists is unfortunately not new. In a similar incident last year, German TV reporter Julieth Gonzalez Theran was groped and kissed on the cheek by a man as she reported live before the World Cup in Russia.