A Spanish TV journalist found herself subjected to a disturbing on-air assault during a live broadcast, sparking a wave of public outrage and condemnation from the Spanish government.
On Tuesday 12 September 2023, Isa Balado was conducting a report on a robbery in Madrid when an unidentified man approached her from behind and appeared to make inappropriate physical contact. The incident unfolded before the viewers’ eyes as the live broadcast continued.
The man, later apprehended by the police, can be seen denying any inappropriate actions when confronted by Balado immediately afterwards.
For context, in the footage aired by broadcaster Cuatro, where Balado is employed, a man wearing white shorts and sunglasses can be observed approaching the journalist and seemingly touching her backside before asking a question. He remained to the side of her as Balado attempted to resume her report, but her colleague, host Nacho Abad, intervened, inquiring about the incident.
“Isa, forgive me for interrupting you… but did he just touch your bottom?” Abad asked. Balado confirmed, prompting Abad to then instruct the cameraperson to focus on the individual who can then be seen laughing.
Balado expressed her displeasure at the man’s behaviour, stating: “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.” The man vehemently denied any wrongdoing, even going as far as to touch her head before walking away.
After video footage of the incident began circulating on social media platforms, individuals from all corners of Spain started sharing their opinions. A significant number of them used the hashtag #SeAcabó, which translates to “it’s over.” This hashtag has gained prominence in Spain, serving as a symbol of the ongoing discussions and repercussions stemming from the recent controversy regarding Luis Rubiales’ unwelcome kiss during last month’s Women’s World Cup medal ceremony.
Conversations regarding consent and gender-based violence in Spain are definitely at an all-time high.
After apologising for the disruption to her live report, Abad assured Balado there was no need for an apology, expressing his own anger at the situation.
Shortly after the journalist addressed the situation, she revealed that the man remained present on the street. Expressing her concern, she remarked: “It’s not just me; he’s behaving this way toward every woman he encounters.”
Spain’s national police later announced the arrest of a man for “sexually assaulting a reporter while she was doing a live television show” and shared a brief video clip of the arrest.
Mediaset Espana, the parent company of the broadcaster, released a statement in support of Isa Balado, condemning the “absolutely intolerable situation” she experienced during her live report.
Yolanda Díaz, who currently serves as the acting labour minister and second deputy prime minister, also emphasised the need for the perpetrator to face legal consequences stating: “Machismo is what leads to journalists having to suffer sexual assaults like this and leaves aggressors unrepentant in front of the camera.”