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Man accused of slapping reporter says he got “caught up in the moment”

A man accused of slapping a TV reporter’s bottom during a live report said he didn’t know he had touched that part of her body. Tommy Callaway told “Inside Edition” he was going to wave at the camera during Alex Bozarjian‘s report on a fun run in Savannah, Georgia, and he got “caught up in the moment.”

On “CBS This Morning” Tuesday, Bozarjian said Callaway slapped her bottom hard as he ran by her. In a clip of the incident that has been viewed more than 11 million times, Bozarjian then looks on with a shocked expression on her face as the youth minister and married father of two runs away.

Alex Bozarjian, reporter slapped by man during race coverage: “He took my power”

“There was a misjudge in character and decision-making,” Callaway told “Inside Edition.” “I touched her back. I did not know exactly where I touched her … I did not see her facial reaction. I just kept on running, and if I did see her facial reaction, I would have been embarrassed. I’d have felt ashamed, and I would have stopped, turned around and went back and apologized to her.”

On Tuesday, Bozarjian told “CBS This Morning” that while Callaway’s actions were more common several years ago they’re unacceptable. “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.”

“It’s not okay to help yourself to a woman’s body just because you feel like it… in order to make any kind of change, you have to be a little bit drastic. And you have to… chip away at this toxic culture that permeates our society.” — @WSAVAlexB pic.twitter.com/tYsvu0uFiW

— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) December 10, 2019

After Saturday’s incident, Bozarjian addressed Callaway on Twitter without identifying him. “No woman should EVER have to put up with this at work or anywhere!!” Bozarjian said. “Do better.”

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. https://t.co/PRLXkBY5hn

— Alex Bozarjian (@wsavalexb) December 7, 2019

Callaway responded to the tweet on “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,” Callaway said.

Bozarjian filed a police report on the incident, but she wouldn’t say Tuesday whether she planned to press charges. “I’m just hoping that police can do their job, you know, kind of leaving it in their hands at this point,” she told “CBS This Morning.”

In a statement Monday, Callaway’s attorney W. Joseph Turner said his client “did not act with any criminal intentions.”


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