TV reporter responds to stranger who kissed her during live broadcast: 'It is not OK'
A Kentucky TV reporter is speaking out after a stranger kissed her during a live broadcast.
Sara Rivest, who works for WAVE-TV in Louisville, Ky., was broadcasting outside a bourbon festival when a man in sunglasses entered the frame and kissed her on the cheek. The incident, which occurred last Friday, made Rivest visibly uncomfortable, but she continued to press on through the story.
"O-o-o-kay," she said while pulling away from the man. "OK, that was not appropriate. Let's just go to the story."
The reporter tweeted about the encounter after the broadcast, sharing a clip of her story along with some words for the stranger.
"Hey mister, here’s your 3 seconds of fame. How about you not touch me? Thanks!!" her tweet said.
The man, now identified as Eric Goodman, was located by police and charged with harassment. Rivest shared the news on her Twitter account Tuesday, adding that Goodman had written her an apology letter.
Rivest read the apology live on air Tuesday, and she's shared her thoughts on the incident throughout the week. On Monday, she discussed the encounter during an on-air chat with another WAVE-TV reporter, Dawne Gee.
"I was shocked, but my nervous laughter does not equate to approval of his actions," Rivest said. "It was an exertion of power over me, a woman — trying to do her job — who couldn’t stop him. This embarrassed me, and it made me feel uncomfortable and powerless."
The reporter went on to say that the man was pretending to smack her butt when he was standing behind her. She told viewers this was a "violation and all-too-common occurrence" for women in the media.
"Journalists in the field, especially women, again just trying to do their jobs, experience harassment like this all of the time, and it is not OK. If you want to act like an idiot behind me in a live shot, that’s your choice," Rivest said. "But when you put your hands on me or anyone else without their approval, that is wrong."
In Goodman's apology, he called his behavior "inappropriate and rude," saying he'd gained a "new respect" for the difficulties reporters face in the field. Rivest said she accepted his apology. However, she still felt that he should be charged with harassment.
"I truly believe he feels bad and is sincere," she said. "Actions, though, have consequences, and from that letter, it seems like he, too, knows that he needs to face those consequences."
Rivest has received an outpouring of support on social media over the past week, earning hundreds of responses to her tweets about the kiss.
"So sorry you had to go through this. I hope it sets a precedent that this is not okay in any way, shape, or form. Keep your head up friend!" one reply said.
"This is crap you, nor any other reporter should have to deal with. It's awesome they got that clown," another said.
Even Rivest's father chimed in, sharing his thoughts through a text she shared on-air.
"If I had been there, I'd have dropped him," her dad wrote. "Tell him I said that. Jerk. You handled it great."