Parenting

The Runner Who Smacked A Reporter's Butt On Live TV Is A Youth Minister

WSAV3/Youtube

Tommy Calloway claims he didn’t know what part he was touching when he brazenly slapped a reporter’s behind during a live TV broadcast

It was one of the most brazen instances of assault ever captured on camera. Georgia reporter Alex Bozarjian, in a neon yellow safety vest, reported from the sidelines of a 5K race in Savannah. As most of the runners who went by her leaned in to wave at the live audience watching from the other side of her camera, one of them lined himself up behind her and smacked her butt as he went by. It was obvious what had happened. Bozarjian’s face fell, and she looked dazed and a little lost as she started after him for a minute, before haltingly trying to resume her broadcast. That face was so familiar to every woman on Earth.

Bozarjian was assaulted on live TV, and the man who did it has now been identified as 43-year-old Statesboro resident Tommy Callaway.

Bozarjian took to Twitter to express her extremely rightful outrage at the assault. “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.”

Callaway works as a youth minister and has been a Boy Scout leader since 1987. He works for a tobacco company. He’s married and has daughters. And when his name started to go viral because he sexually assaulted a woman in front of a rolling camera, he had this horrifying excuse to make.

“I touched her back; I did not know exactly where I touched her.”

Bullshit.

Callaway has made most of his statements about this incident through his lawyer. Yes, he got a lawyer immediately, which is hardly the behavior of a person who thought he innocently touched someone’s back, but I digress. His lawyer says they don’t expect any criminal charges to arise from this, because Callaway “is a loving husband and father who is very active in his community,” and he didn’t intend to hurt her.

It doesn’t matter, because he did. And despite everything about Callaway’s life that says he should know better than to assault a woman, he did. It happened on live TV, which means he got caught, and now there should be consequences. Thankfully, reports say Bozarjian is pressing charges, and we hope she knows how many women stand behind her as she does so.

Callaway has been banned from participating in sporting events in Georgia that are organized by the same company that held the road race where this assault happened, but that’s not enough. Men like him have gotten away with behavior like this for too long. There’s a video, and there’s no question what’s happening in that video. Callaway should face the full consequences for the choice he made to treat a woman’s body as if it was there for him, as if he was entitled to it.

In the words of Bozarjian, who is handling this with so much more strength and grace than I ever would, “It’s not OK to help yourself to a woman’s body just because you feel like it. It’s not playful. He hurt me, both physically and emotionally. He took my power, and I’m trying to take that back.”