I had another topic in mind to write about today… maybe I’ll get to it later. For now, I want to address a news article I just read about yet another man taking liberties with a woman and apparently thinking it’s funny. The short version, guys, is that this isn’t funny. It’s demeaning, humiliating, and downright shitty. And if you touch someone without their consent, you’re likely to pay a stiff price for it. Sexual harassment is not a joke, and doing it on live TV is really foolish. At the very least, you will be outed and shamed for it, and there is a good chance you could wind up in court, too.
Savannah, Georgia based anchorwoman Alex Bozarjian, 23, was covering the Savannah Bridge Run 10K last Saturday for WSAV TV. She appeared to be enjoying the scene as she stood to the side, watching joggers pass as they mugged for the camera. Then, suddenly, a man in sunglasses and a baseball cap came up behind her and slapped her on the ass. Bozarjian’s face immediately registered shock and indignation, but she quickly composed herself and went on with her reporting. Below are screen grabs from the video. You can see Bozarjian’s horrified reaction as she’s groped on live TV while trying to do her job.
Later, she tweeted this:
Eagle eyed observers figured out who that “masked man” was, on account of the race number he was wearing. He was identified as 43 year old Tommy Callaway of Statesboro, Georgia. I know Statesboro. I have relatives who are from that area and, in fact, I’m pretty sure my Aunt Jeanne is buried near there. I’m sure Mr. Callaway, who was also identified as a Boy Scout leader and youth pastor for the United Methodist Church, meant no harm. He might have thought he was being cute and funny, smacking the anchorwoman’s ass. It’s probably how he was raised. And in this age of Donald Trump worshipping pussy grabbers, he may have felt perfectly justified in smacking the ass of a woman young enough to be his daughter. It’s all in good fun, right?
Of course he was wrong, and Mr. Callaway may soon find out how wrong he was in a court of law. Alex Bozarjian, whose Twitter profile reports that she’s a “proud Latina”, was raised in Salem, Massachusetts, and sports an apparently Armenian surname, has filed a police report and is allowing police officers to decide if criminal charges are worth pursuing. Callaway’s attorney, Joseph Turner, issued the following statement:
“[Tommy Callaway is a] loving husband and father who is very active in his community [who is] working with those involved to correct the situation. While we regret the situation, Mr. Callaway did not act with any criminal intentions,”
Callaway has also apparently said that the butt slap was an “accident”. He stated on Inside Edition:
“I was caught up in the moment. I was getting ready to bring my hands up and wave to the camera to the audience, there was a misjudge in character and decision-making. I touched her back; I did not know exactly where I touched her.”
Callaway added, “I totally agree 100 percent with her statement and the two most important words were her last two words, ‘do better.’ And that’s my intention. I did not see her facial reaction as I just kept on running. If I did see her facial reaction, I would have felt embarrassed and ashamed and stopped and turned around to apologize to her.”
Really? I’ve watched the clip a few times and, to me, he looks pretty intent on making contact with her ass. Of course he wasn’t going to see her face as he was running up behind her, and of course he wasn’t going to look for her reaction as he was racing away. While some might excuse him for that reason, I think it’s an even better reason not to touch people without their permission. Especially if there is any chance you might wind up touching them in an inappropriate place and/or having your intentions “misunderstood” (although I think Mr. Callaway’s excuse is 100% bullshit).
Bozarjian says the slap hurt; he hit her hard. Bozarjian also says that Callaway “took her power”, and she’s claimed she even feels a little bit “guilty”, probably because she’s been shamed by people who think she should just let it go because he was just being “rambunctious”.
Well… what the hell is that supposed to mean? Tommy Callaway is married and has daughters, and he presumably has a mother. Does he like it when strange men fondle them “in good fun”? I wonder what Callaway’s wife, mother, and daughters think of this, watching their husband, son, or dad treating a young woman like a side of beef on live television. It’s probably embarrassing and humiliating for them, too. I know I’d be pretty furious if Bill ever did that. Fortunately, Bill is much more evolved, even though he grew up at a time when guys were allowed and expected to take liberties with women that way, especially in the South. Callaway seems to have a “frat boy” mentality. I’ve run across it a lot myself, especially having grown up and lived in the South, where there seems to be more of an attitude about boys being boys. Lots of guys like Callaway have been taught this behavior is just fine.
I see from Heavy.com that Callaway got married in 2015 and is a graduate of Georgia Southern University. He works in sales for Swedish Match, a tobacco company. His wife has daughters, but it’s not clear if she had them with Callaway. Either way, I would expect Callaway to set a better example and respect his vows to his wife.
But even if Callaway wasn’t married and didn’t have daughters, smacking someone on the ass like that is just a tacky thing to do, especially considering that Bozarjian was working. It certainly would be wrong regardless, but she was acting in a professional capacity, reporting the news. There she was on camera, trying to do her job, when she gets sexually harassed for all to see. Does Callaway go around smacking police officers on the ass when they’re working? What about nurses or schoolteachers? I give Bozarjian true props for keeping her composure in that situation. She did a lot better than this guy did, when he was caught off guard while reporting the news:
Watching the video of the incident involving Callaway and Bozarjian, I was reminded of a trend that was going on a few years ago. Anchors were interviewing people about various subjects when the person suddenly blurted “fuck her right in the pussy.” It started out just being one guy, but the trend soon caught on and others started doing it, because it was “funny”.
Tommy Callaway has apparently taken down most of his social media by now, but before this blew up, it was revealed that he takes part in a lot of races and running events. However, thanks to his inability to keep his hands to himself, Callaway is now banned from all Savannah Sports Council owned races. Perhaps that doesn’t matter to Callaway, but at least someone is holding him accountable for his boorish behavior on live TV. I’m not saying I think this is something that should ruin Callaway’s life, but I do think it’s good that people have taken notice. Yes, Bozarjian has gotten some dismissive comments from people who don’t think this is a big deal, but others– particularly those in her profession– are coming to her defense.
Seriously, Tommy… keep your hands to yourself!