Italian soccer reporter files charges against man for harassment on TV


ROME (Reuters) - A female Italian journalist filed charges on Monday against a man accused of slapping her bottom on live TV after a Serie A football match just as the league was championing a campaign against violence towards women.

Greta Beccaglia, of local broadcaster Toscana TV, was talking to fans streaming out of the stadium after Empoli beat Fiorentina 2-1 on Saturday.

Footage shows a passer-by moving an open hand towards her bottom before, Beccaglia says, slapping her sharply.

"You can't do that, I'm sorry," the visibly upset journalist says to the man in the video, which has been widely broadcast, drawing outrage on Italian social media.

Anchorman Giorgio Micheletti then advises her from the studio: "Don't get cross" - a comment many branded as inappropriate.

The incident came as Italy's top league was taking a stance for women, with all players wearing a red mark on their faces as a sign of solidarity against harassment.

Police said Beccaglia had made formal charges, while Toscana TV said it would pay her legal costs.

'SLAPPED ME VIOLENTLY'

"First the man spat on his hand and then he slapped me on my bottom, violently," she told Corriere della Sera daily.

Another man later also tried to touch her, she said, though this was not caught on film.

Police said they have identified the first man.

Sexism and abuse of women remain big problems in Italy. Some 31% of women experience sexual or physical violence in their lives, according to National statistics institute ISTAT.

Marco Talluri, chief editor of Toscana TV, said the anchorman's response was wrong. "We cannot let our guard down ... we have condemned any attempt to minimise this incident," he told Reuters.

Micheletti said he was trying to defend Greta and prevent something worse from happening.

"I apologise for the unfortunate words I used in the frantic moment of Saturday's live broadcast," he said in a statement. "At that moment my only interest was to be of help to Greta."

(Reporting by Angelo Amante; Editing by Gavin Jones and Andrew Cawthorne)

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