A local news reporter from NBC affiliate WSAV-3 in Georgia who was assaulted on live television Saturday morning as she reported on the race at the Savannah Bridge Run route, is now speaking out over the slap and condemning the assailant’s grotesque actions. While dressed in a neon-yellow shirt and microphone in hand, field reporter Alex Bozarjian stood alongside the route as runners passed her by with many whooping and cheering in the background of her shot when one participant sporting sunglasses and a long-sleeve blue shirt smacked her bottom as he ran past her.
In video that has since gone viral of the assault and enraged countless users online, Bozarjian’s expression noticeably changes from enthusiastic to one of pure stun. Shocked with her face dropping, the reporter begins stuttering over her words, then quickly recovering to continue her report.
“To the man who smacked my butt on live TV this morning: You violated, objectified, and embarrassed me,” Bozarjian wrote in a retweet alongside video captured by a home viewer who called the runner a “jerk” in her own post, and has now been viewed more than 7 million times. “No woman should EVER have to put up with this at work or anywhere!! Do better.”
Several viewers, fans and social media users took to the comments section to express their anger over the situation, with many stunned that something like this continues to happen with women reporting in the field.
“We watch [WSAV] in our house every single morning. Their staff is like extended family to us. I'm furious about this,” wrote the user who captured the video on Twitter.
Her facial expression speaks for all of us. pic.twitter.com/JKJLfklSWw— Teachers For Bernie (@BerniesTeachers) December 8, 2019
“The look on her face and the shift in her voice broke my heart,” added another. “It’s so disgusting that this guy decided to do this. He literally crosses down to her in order to do this and then continues running like it’s nothing. Like the audacity of it all sickens me.”
While replying to the user who initially shared the video who was worried the attention toward the reporter was unwarranted, Bozarjian graciously replied that “it’s very nice to feel supported by others when this stuff happens.”
Robert Wells, Director of the Savannah Sports Council also watched the video and replied to Bozarjian, vowing to ensure this would be resolved. The Savannah Sports Council took to Twitter shortly after the incident, stating they had identified the attacker.
“Yesterday at the Enmarket Savannah Bridge Run a reporter from WSAV was inappropriately touched by a registered participant of the event,” the statement via Twitter read. “Our title sponsor, Enmarket and the Savannah Sports Council take this matter extremely seriously and fully condemn this individual’s actions. 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. We have made the decision to ban this individual from registering for all Savannah Sports Council owned races.”
According to the Washington Post, internet sleuths worked hard and fast to name the man who touched Bozarjian, with a Savannah Police Department spokeswoman revealing that the findings have been confirmed and they have talked to the reporter as to how she would like to proceed.
Several other TV reporters have made public statements in support of Bozarjian.
“You handled it with grace, my friend,” Emma Hamilton, a reporter at another TV station in Savannah wrote on Twitter. “This is not acceptable and the community has your back.”
“DO NOT TOUCH REPORTERS,” Caitlyn Penter, a TV reporter from North Carolina added. “Period.”
Photo credit: NBC / WSAV, Twitter