MADRID – On Tuesday, during a live broadcast on Spanish television, a man groped the buttocks of a female reporter. The incident takes place against a backdrop of controversy surrounding the unwanted kiss of the former president of the Spanish Football Association.
While Isa Balado, a reporter for Cuatro TV, was reporting live on robberies in Madrid, a passing man inappropriately grabbed her buttocks. “What channel are you from?” said the man, hiding behind large sunglasses, after approaching and touching the young woman. Balado tried to give the interview a different twist, but from the studio, presenter Nacho Abad insisted that she confront the man about his sexual misconduct. “Forgive me for interrupting you. But did he just touch your butt?” he asked in shock.
“Did you really have to touch my butt?”
Balado then confronted the man about his behaviour. “As much as you want to ask us something, did you really have to touch my butt? I wish you would let me work.” After the man tried to apologise, he left, but not before touching the journalist again, this time on her hair.
From the studio, Nacho Abad seemed very angry: “This man is so stupid! I am so sorry for what just happened to you.” Baldo, meanwhile, apologised for the interruption, with the presenter reiterating that the individual was to blame for the situation. ‘You do your job, as you always do well, and an idiot comes and touches your buttocks without any right. It pisses me off,” he insisted.
— En boca de todos (@EnBocaDe_Todos) September 12, 2023
The man was arrested by the police after the incident. He published images of the arrest on X/Twitter. No details have yet been released about his identity.
— Policía Nacional (@policia) September 12, 2023
Political reactions to sexual harrasment
Mediaset España, Balado’s employer, issued a statement strongly condemning “any form of intimidation or aggression” and expressing their full support for the journalist following this “absolutely unacceptable situation.”
Yolanda Díaz, the Minister of Labour, emphasises that the sexual harassment incident cannot remain without consequences. “Journalists are often victims of this kind of machismo sexual harassment, and perpetrators don’t seem to mind doing it on camera.” Equality Minister Irene Montero added: “Touching without consent is sexual violence, and as far as we are concerned, it is time for impunity to end.”
This inappropriate behaviour comes at a particularly critical time for Spain. The country was already in the grip of a scandal surrounding football president Luis Rubiales, who gave an unwanted kiss to player Jennifer Hermoso after Spain’s World Cup win. This has led to public outrage and Rubiales is due to appear in court on Thursday.