Man arrested after female reporter groped on air
The unwanted touching of a female journalist while she was live on television has sparked outrage in Spain, which is still reeling from the World Cup kiss scandal.
Reporter Isa Balado was in the middle of a broadcast at the scene of a robbery in Madrid this week when a male passerby allegedly groped her bottom.
The man approached from behind as Balado attempted to do her job on the street, allegedly reaching for her rear while she was on camera.
Balado was momentarily startled but then smiled at the man and continued her live report for the Cuatro network.
But the program’s host Nacho Abad asked her to put the man, whom he labelled an “idiot”, in front of the camera.
“Isa, forgive me for interrupting you … but did he just touch your bottom?” Abad said, according to the BBC.
Balado confirmed the incident as the man stood beside her.
“Do you really have to touch my bottom? I’m doing a live show and I’m working,” she asked the alleged offender, who was smiling and laughing.
The man denied groping Balado and tickled the top of her head as he moved away.
Spanish police later tweeted that a man had been arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting a journalist.
The incident comes amid Spain’s own ‘Me Too’ movement, which was triggered when the country’s football federation president Luis Rubiales kissed World Cup winner Jenni Hermoso on the mouth.
Mediaset Espana, which owns the news channel, condemned the “absolutely intolerable” act against the reporter and said it “categorically repudiates any form of harassment or aggression”.
Spain’s Labour Minister Yolanda Díaz wrote on X (Twitter) that the alleged assault should not go unpunished.
“It is machismo that makes journalists suffer sexual assaults like this, and the aggressors are unrepentant in front of the camera.”
Rubiales resigned this week after his unsolicited kiss on Hermoso at the Women’s World Cup final in Sydney last month, saying his position had become untenable.
A Spanish prosecutor last week filed a complaint with the high court against Rubiales for sexual assault and coercion.
Rubiales has described the kiss as mutual and consensual, and had until this week defied calls from players, government officials and others for him to resign.