The man approached journalist Isa Balado when she was reporting live on an armed robbery in Madrid Tuesday.
Trigger Warning: This article contains details of sexual abuse that may be distressing to readers.
A man has been arrested after he was caught sexually assaulting a journalist while she was live on TV. The man approached journalist Isa Balado when she was reporting on a Madrid robbery. Viewers were horrified as they saw the man appear to touch her inappropriately, which he denied when she confronted him. While Balado was in shock but tried to remain professional, the program's host immediately called the man out.
"Isa, forgive me for interrupting you... but did he just touch your bottom?" Nacho Abad asked Balado, repots BBC. When the reporter nodded confirmation, he told her to put the "idiot" on camera. The man seemed unfazed and continued to smile and laugh as he stood near her. "As much as you want to ask what channel we are from, do you really have to touch my bottom? I'm doing a live show and I'm working," Balado told him. He denied that he touched her and then went on to ruffle her hair as he walked away.
According to CNN in a later segment, Balado commented on what had happened. “It’s very unpleasant, particularly when you are working,” she said. Police later claimed he was arrested for assaulting the reporter while she was doing the live television show. In a message posted on X—formerly Twitter—the man was seen being taken away in handcuffs. The incident left many people angered including Spain's Labour Minister Yolanda Díaz who said, "It is machismo that makes journalists suffer sexual assaults like this, and the aggressors are unrepentant in front of the camera."
Unfortunately, the man was released by the Madrid magistrate’s court the next day. The judge did not impose any precautionary measures as she did not believe there was any continued risk to the victim, the court said in a statement. A spokesperson for the High Court of Justice of Madrid added that the investigation and criminal proceedings will continue. Balado’s colleagues disagreed with this stance. “This is the problem,” said presenter Verónica Dulanto on Cuatro on Wednesday. “He hasn’t even been in there for 24 hours.”
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According to The Guardian, many people stood in support of Balado including Rita Maestre, a politician with the leftwing Más Madrid party, who said: “Not so long ago, something like this would have passed for something anecdotal or nothing serious. Today, common sense tells us that these behaviors are intolerable. That change is called feminism." Equality minister Irene Montero also voiced support for the journalist. “Non-consensual touching is sexual violence,” she wrote in a post on X on Tuesday. “Only yes means yes.”
Netizens also rallied around the journalist. @joshuatan88 wrote, "Sorry that happened to you Isa. These kind of men need to be taken to task." @amfy noted, "Well done to that host. Men calling out other men is the way forward. Thank you!" @KingCarlos1st pointed out, "Great from the host. It's extremely sad that Balado thinks she needs to carry on and behave professionally after that." To this, @John_1865 replied, "Yep sad that probably most people’s reactions if it happens to them in that situation as a professional and that’s on society not them. Fair play to the host for calling it out."
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