News, Culture & Society

Reporter whose behind was slapped by married youth minister during a race on live TV speaks out

A reporter whose behind was slapped by a married youth minister during a Georgia race on live television has spoken out about the Saturday morning incident.  

WSAV reporter, Alex Bozarjian, appeared on CBS This Morning for an interview just days after the encounter occurred at the Enmarket Savannah Bridge Run. 

Bozarjian said she was left in ‘disbelief’ that runner, Tommy Callaway, would help ‘himself to a part of my body’.

‘I think what is most important here is that he took my power and I’m trying to take that back,’ Bozarjian told the hosts.  

When speaking about the moment Bozarjian said the slap was a ‘heavy impact’. 

‘He separates himself from the runners and kind of winds up and hit me hard,’ she added.  

  

WSAV reporter, Alex Bozarjian (pictured), whose behind was slapped by Tommy Callaway during a Georgia race on live television has spoken out about the Saturday morning incident

Bozarjian said she was left in 'disbelief' that runner, Tommy Callaway, would help 'himself to a part of my body'. 'I think what is most important here is that he took my power and I'm trying to take that back,' Bozarjian told the hosts

Bozarjian said she was left in ‘disbelief’ that runner, Tommy Callaway, would help ‘himself to a part of my body’. ‘I think what is most important here is that he took my power and I’m trying to take that back,’ Bozarjian told the hosts 

Bozarjian said Callaway tried to make contact with the station that she works for tell let them know that ‘his intentions were not to hurt me… not going to really debate that because he did hurt me’.

Despite receiving an outpouring of support from people on social media, Bozarjian said others have told her to just ‘accept the apology’. Some even blamed Bozarjian for putting herself ‘in the line of fire’ as a reporter. 

Callaway’s attorney, Joseph Turner, told CBS, that his client ‘did not act with any criminal intentions’. 

‘Tommy is a loving husband and father and we do not expect any criminal charges,’ Turner said.

The incident all began at the combined half and full marathon where Bozarjian was reporting live. 

Callaway was seen on video running up behind Bozarjian and taking the swipe during the race.  

Bozarjian posted the video to Twitter, with the caption: ‘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 video, which was viewed millions of times, prompted outraged Twitter sleuths to track Callaway down.

The incident all began at the combined half and full marathon where Bozarjian (left) was reporting live. Callaway (right) was seen on video running up behind Bozarjian and taking the swipe during the race

The incident all began at the combined half and full marathon where Bozarjian (left) was reporting live. Callaway (right) was seen on video running up behind Bozarjian and taking the swipe during the race

Bozarjian (pictured) is seen in the footage looking stunned just moments after the incident

Bozarjian (pictured) is seen in the footage looking stunned just moments after the incident 

Bozarjian posted the video to Twitter, with the caption: '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'

Bozarjian posted the video to Twitter, with the caption: ‘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 sleuths used the runner’s bib number to confirm his name, which they matched against online records.  

Callaway was identified as a youth church minister from Statesboro, according to social media posts and the MarathonInvestigation website. 

However, MarathonInvestigation claims that it verified his name through photos and a cross reference of his bib number. 

DailyMail.com also confirmed that the number, 7553 in images of the runner, was listed under Callaway’s name and his statistics at OnlineRaceResults.  

Callaway also used to volunteer for the Pittman Park United Methodist Church. Wendy Doty, a secretary with the church, told the New York Daily News that Callaway ‘stepped back’ from that role following the incident. 

‘We are quite disappointed,’ she told the newspaper. ‘His actions do not, in any way, represent the values of our congregation and we believe that all persons should be treated with respect,’ Doty added.  

Callaway’s images, according to social media users, were starting to disappear from various sites. 

But some online took screen grabs before Callaway’s picture was gone for good. 

Tay, who uses the hashtag @howdtay on Twitter, took a screen grab of Callaway’s LinkedIn page before his profile image was later removed. 

The page says that he works for Swedish Match, a smokeless tobacco company.

The video, which was viewed millions of times, prompted outraged Twitter sleuths to track Callaway (pictured) down

The video, which was viewed millions of times, prompted outraged Twitter sleuths to track Callaway (pictured) down

Social media sleuths, as well as DailyMail.com, matched the runner's bib number against online records to identify the runner as Tommy Callaway

Social media sleuths, as well as DailyMail.com, matched the runner’s bib number against online records to identify the runner as Tommy Callaway

Callaway was identified as a youth church minister from Statesboro, according to social media posts and the MarathonInvestigation website

Bozarjian (pictured) said police are aware of the incident

Callaway was identified as a youth church minister from Statesboro, according to social media posts. Bozarjian (right) said police are aware of the incident

Savannah Sports Council tweeted on Sunday that it was taking action against Callaway. 

‘Yesterday at the Enmarket Savannah Bridge Run a reporter from WSAV was inappropriately touched by a registered participant of the event,’ the organization tweeted on Sunday.

‘Our title sponsor, Enmarket and the Savannah Sports Council take this matter extremely seriously and fully condemn this individual’s actions,’ the group said.  

‘We will not tolerate behavior like this at a Savannah Sports Council event. We have made the decision to ban this individual from registering for all Savannah Sports Council owned races.’

Bozarjian filed a police report against Callaway on Monday. Bozarjian did not respond when DailyMail.com reached out. Callaway also did not respond when contacted by DailyMail.com. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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