Isa Balado: Outcry in Spain after man appears to grope reporter live on air

An outcry has been sparked across Spain after a man appeared to sexually assault a journalist live on camera while she was working.

Isa Balado, a journalist with the broadcaster Cuatro, was reporting on a robbery in central Madrid on Tuesday when she was approached by a man who appeared to touch her bottom.

He then interrupted her report to ask her what channel she worked for.

The man was confronted live on air
The man was confronted live on air

Spanish police have since arrested a man on suspicion of sexual assault, while ministers have also called for the perpetrator to be apprehended and punished.

Ms Balado attempted to continue her report but was asked by the programme’s host in disbelief whether the man had touched her live on air.

“Isa, forgive me for interrupting you... but did he just touch your bottom?" Nacho Abad asked.

He then told her to put the “idiot” on camera, who appeared smiling and laughing.

Ms Balado challenged the man, saying: “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 then denied touching her, and attempted to tickle her head as he walked away.

In a statement, Mediaset Espana, which owns the news channel, offered its support to Ms Balado, condemning the “absolutely intolerable situation”, adding that it “categorically repudiates any form of harassment or aggression”.

Spain’s Labour Minister Yolanda Díaz also spoke out over the incident, saying it should not go unpunished.

Police arrest a man following the incident
Police arrest a man following the incident

She wrote on Twitter: “It is machismo that makes journalists suffer sexual assaults like this, and the aggressors are unrepentant in front of the camera."

Footage of the incident has been widely viewed in Spain, where it has been shared with the social media hashtag #SeAcabó, meaning “it’s over”.

The phrase has been widely used in the aftermath of the furore of Luis Rubiales’ allegedly unsolicited kiss of a player Jenni Hermoso at last month’s Women’s World Cup medal ceremony which has led to a nationwide debate over sexism.

The row eventually led to Rubiales’ resignation and a summons to court over accusations of sexual assault and coercion.