A Spanish television reporter was in the middle of a live broadcast from the streets of Madrid when a creep walked up to her and fondled her buttocks — leading to his arrest on sexual assault charges.
On Tuesday, Isa Balado, 30, a correspondent for channel Cuatro, was reporting on a story about local store clerks who beat up a suspected thief when a man in sunglasses accosted her from behind, before asking her which television station she worked for.
Balado explained she was in the middle of a live broadcast and tried to continue with the coverage until host Nacho Abad in the studio stepped in.
“Isa, sorry to interrupt, did he just touch your butt?” Abad asked.
“Yes,” Balado replied with an uncomfortable smile.
The host insisted that the reporter put the alleged groper, whom he called “an idiot,” on camera.
Balado then confronted the man and asked: “As much as you want to ask us which channel we work for, do you really have to touch my ass?”
“I’m doing a live show and I’m working,” she added.
The man denied touching her. When Balado insisted that he did touch her, he said “Sorry” and tried to shake her hand, but the reporter brushed him off and asked him to let her do her job.
As he walked away, he attempted to ruffle Balado’s hair as she ducked out of the way, prompting the host in the studio to call him “stupid.”
After Abad expressed shock over what had happened, Balado apologized, to which he said: “No, you have nothing to feel sorry for. It makes me so mad.”
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Meanwhile, the man continued lingering in the street, and Balado claimed that she was not the only target of his unwanted advances.
“It’s not just me, it’s happening to every woman he comes across,” she said.
After the reporter admitted on camera that the encounter had made her nervous, the man approached Balado again, saying he had heard her accusations and that she should “tell the truth.”
Balado asked for the live broadcast to be cut because she did not want to give the man any more attention.
Channel Cuatro immediately called the police, who took the 25-year-old suspect away in handcuffs. He has not been publicly identified.
Mediaset Espana, which owns Cuatro, said it “categorically repudiates any form of harassment or aggression.”
The incident provoked a public outcry in Spain and was condemned by government officials, coming amid a national reckoning over sexism sparked by Spanish soccer federation president Luis Rubiales’ allegedly nonconsensual kiss on the lips of World Cup winner Jenni Hermoso.
Rubiales resigned Sunday, three weeks after his celebratory antics touched off an international scandal.
Spain’s Labor Minister Yolanda Diaz said Balado’s alleged on-air 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,” she wrote on X, formerly Twitter.