SAVANNAH, Ga. (CBS NEWS) — Reporters are often prepared for anything when it comes to getting a story, but nothing could — or should — have prepared Georgia journalist Alex Bozarjian for the shocking moment she experienced while on live TV this weekend.
Bozarjian was covering the annual Enmarket Savannah Bridge Run on Saturday when a man ran by and appeared to grope her.
The stunning clip posted to Twitter on Saturday morning shows the reporter for NBC/CW+-affiliate WSAV-TV speaking on camera and smiling by the side of the race as participants fly by.
Many runners interacted with her during the 16-second clip, but the moment turned on its side when one man passed by. The video purportedly shows a male runner at the 12-second mark apparently hit the reporter from behind. Bozarjian looked surprised and stared off toward him before quickly regaining her composure.
The video went viral, garnering more than 8 million views, and evoked an immediate response from users online.
“The look on her face and the shift in her voice broke my heart. It’s so disgusting that this guy decided to do this,” wrote user @TheLukewarmMess. Other users urged her to press charges. “What an [sic] moron for doing that you should press charges he assaulted you,” wrote Victor V. Dominguez, a local news photojournalist according to his bio.
Some believed the internet condemnation was going too far — with multiple users allegedly discovering the man’s personal information online and posting it to the platform.
“Yes it’s inappropriate but I don’t think he needs to be stoned to death,” wrote user @kelreed1. “Posting his name or what we think is his name seem very inappropriate. I’m sure the reporter is capable of handing the situation.”
Bozarjian spoke out about the incident herself later that day on Twitter. “To the man who smacked my butt on live TV this morning: You violated, objectified, and embarrassed me,” she said. “No woman should EVER have to put up with this at work or anywhere!! Do better.”
The Savannah Sports Council — which owns and operates the bridge run — issued a statement Sunday to CBS News and also responded publicly to the incident.
“Yesterday at the Enmarket Savannah Bridge Run a reporter from WSAV was inappropriately touched by a registered participant of the event,” the group wrote in multiple tweets. “Our title sponsor, Enmarket and the Savannah Sports Council take this matter extremely seriously and fully condemn this individual’s actions.”
The council said it has identified the individual and shared his information with Bozarjian and WSAV-TV. It also announced he is banned from registering for all races owned by the organization.
The Savannah Police and Bozarjian have not yet responded to CBS News’ request for comment regarding potential charges or verification of the runner’s identity.
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