A man smacked the rear end of a reporter covering a race for a local news station over the weekend, sparking a public outcry regarding sexism against female journalists.
“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,” tweeted Alex Bozarijian, a Savannah, Georgia reporter who was covering a local race for NBC affiliate WSAV.
Footage of Bozarijian being slapped on the butt by an unnamed man during live coverage of the event went massively viral following the race.
Since being posted to Twitter, it’s been viewed more than 10 million times.
The 16-second-long clip shows a parade of racers passing the local reporter.
One of them, a man in a blue visor and sunglasses, rears back and smacks her rear as he passes.
The video captures Bozarijian’s shocked reaction in the aftermath of the incident.
The director of the organization that hosted the race responded on Twitter by saying the offender’s behavior would not be “tolerated at our events.”
“Alex, what happened today is 100% unacceptable. You have my assurance we will identify him,” Robert Wells, director of the Savannah Sports Council, tweeted in reply to Bozarijian.
An outpouring of support followed from feminists and from fellow women journalists, some of whom took the opportunity to make a broader point about sexism.
“What happened to #AlexBozarjian (@wsavalexb) is indicative of how society views women, even in 2019, and the class-ceiling we hit during the #MeToo resurgence. I hope Alex pulls a #TaylorSwift a sues this runner for a $1 as a sign to him and to all men that we are not objects!” tweeted writer Jennifer Brigitte.
“Just let on-site journos, especially women, do their jobs in peace,” tweeted HuffPost contributor Dennis Earl.
A reporter in #Savannah, #Georgia, was groped on live #TV when a #runner participating in the annual #EnmarketSavannahBridgeRun smacked her behind while jogging past her live shot. #MeToo #misogynist #sexist https://t.co/nT6ReD6uW0
— Liz Goldenberg (@newstruthliz) December 9, 2019
Some commenters used the incident to claim that “#menaretrash,” a patriarchy-challenging refrain commonly invoked by feminists.
Singer Storm Large slammed the clergy, after the man was allegedly revealed to have worked in a youth ministry.
So shocked to hear that the dude who smacked this young reporter's ass is supposedly employed by a youth ministry.
I know crazy, right? Probably not though. https://t.co/eV7n2j1IBQ
— Storm Large (@Stormof69) December 9, 2019
A spokeswoman for the Savannah Police Department told The Washington Post authorities have spoken with Bozarijian about the incident.