Isa Balado: Man arrested after allegedly touching Spanish journalist’s bottom live on air
Police in Spain arrested a man on suspicion of sexual assault after he appeared to touch a TV journalist on the bottom as she was reporting live from the streets of Madrid.
The man approached Isa Balado, a journalist for the “En boca de todos” program on Spain’s Cuatro channel, as she was reporting on an alleged robbery on Tuesday.
The man can be seen approaching her and then appearing to touch her bottom as she’s talking to presenter Nacho Abad in the studio.
Balado tried to continue with her piece to camera, but Abad asked her if the man had just touched her bottom.
When Balado said he did, Abad asked her to put “this stupid guy” on camera.
The camera then zooms out to show Balado and the man.
“Do you really need to touch my bum?” she asked, before telling him that she’s live on television. “I’d like you to let me work.”
He continued to talk to her, before reaching his hand out to rub her on the head and then eventually walking away.
Balado then continued with the rest of her report.
In a later video segment, Balado commented on what had happened.
“It’s very unpleasant, particularly when you are working,” she said, before the camera panned to show the man standing on the street with another man.
He then approached Balado again and attempted to talk to her before she asked to cut the broadcast.
The incident sparked condemnation from Spanish politicians, including labor minister Yolanda Díaz.
“Machismo means that journalists suffer sexual assaults like this and that the aggressors appear in front of the camera unrepentantly,” Díaz wrote in a Tuesday post on X, formerly known as Twitter. “This can’t go unpunished.”
Equality minister Irene Montero also voiced support for Balado.
“Non-consensual touching is sexual violence,” she wrote in a post on X Tuesday. “Only yes means yes.”
The man was later arrested and Spain’s national police posted a video on X of him being led away in cuffs.
On Wednesday, he was released by the Madrid magistrate’s court. 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 sent to CNN.
A spokesperson for the High Court of Justice of Madrid told CNN that the investigation and criminal proceedings will continue.
Balado’s colleagues criticized the decision to release him.
“This is the problem,” said presenter Verónica Dulanto on Cuatro on Wednesday. “He hasn’t even been in there for 24 hours.”
CNN has contacted Cuatro’s parent company Mediaset Espana for comment.
The incident comes as Spain is facing a reckoning over sexual assault and gender based violence after Luis Rubiales, president of the Spanish soccer federation, was accused of kissing Women’s World Cup winner Jennifer Hermoso without consent.
Rubiales resigned from his position on Sunday following weeks of fierce criticism.
The unwanted kiss on Hermoso came after the Spanish team’s victory in the Women’s World Cup final on August 20, and sparked condemnation in Spain and across the world.
The 46-year-old previously apologized and described the kiss as “mutual” – a claim Hermoso denied, saying she did not consent and was not respected.