Tommy Callaway, the runner who slapped a reporter’s backside on live TV over the weekend, has come forward and is apologizing for his “awful act.”
Callaway, a 43-year-old youth minister, said Tuesday that he acted out of character when he groped WSAV-TV reporter Alex Bozarjian during her live coverage of the Enmarket Savannah Bridge Run in Georgia on Saturday.
“I was getting ready to bring my hands up and wave to the camera, to the audience, and there was a misjudgment in character and decision-making. I touched her back. I did not know exactly where I touched her,” he told Inside Edition Tuesday.
Bozarjian shared the moment of the incident on Twitter on Saturday, and she is visibly shocked after Callaway touches her.
“To the man who smacked my butt on live TV this morning: You violated, objectified, and embarrassed me,” she wrote on Twitter alongside the 16-second clip. “No woman should EVER have to put up with this at work or anywhere!! Do better.”
Callaway said that he has taken Bozarjian’s words to heart.
“I totally agree 100 percent with her statement,” Callaway, a married father of two, told Inside Edition. “The two most important words were her last two words, ‘Do better,’ and that’s my intention.”
“If I did see her facial reaction, I would’ve been embarrassed, felt ashamed, and I would’ve stopped, turned around, and apologized to her,” he said, adding that he is “disappointed” in himself.
“I feel horrible,” he said.
Bozarjian said on CBS This Morning Tuesday that Callaway’s slap was a “heavy impact.”
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. https://t.co/PRLXkBY5hn— Alex Bozarjian (@wsavalexb) December 7, 2019
“He hit me hard,” she said, adding that watching the footage back is a bit of an out-of-body experience.
“I think what is most important here is he took my power, and I’m trying to take that back,” Bozarjian said.
Inside Edition reported that Bozarjian filed a sexual battery report with police. Callaway’s lawyer told CBS that the Boy Scout leader “did not act with any criminal intentions.”
“Tommy is a loving husband and father,” the statement continued. “We do not expect any criminal charges.” His lawyer did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
“Whether I’m open to [hearing his apology] or not, I want to take my time with that,” Bozarjian added on CBS This Morning. “I think what it really comes down to is, he helped himself to a part of my body.”
The Savannah Sports Council, which owns and operates the bridge run, has since announced that Callaway will not be allowed to participate in any of its future events.
“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,” the council said on Twitter Sunday.