California News Anchor Wanted To Talk About The Disproportionate Coverage of Gabby Petito Case, He Was Suspended Indefinitely and told it was Inappropriate

A California news anchor has been suspended indefinitely from a Bay Area news station last week, after he suggested KTVU air a segment about the disproportionate media coverage of the Gabby Petito case.

Frank Somerville, 63, wanted to add a 46-second tagline after a longer report about the homicide investigation into Petito’s death, questioning the media coverage the story has received. However, news director Amber Eikel disagreed about the addition calling it inappropriate, The Mercury News reported. Somerville, who pushed back against the assertion, learned the next day that he had been “suspended indefinitely.”

Somerville, who is white, is the father of an adopted Black teen daughter. Once 23-year-old Brian Laundrie returned home to Florida without 22-year-old Petito following the couple’s cross-country trip, Petito’s family reported her missing.

News stations followed the Petito case closely while it unraveled from a missing person case to a homicide investigation.

Petito’s remains were later found in Wyoming on Sept. 21, days after Laundrie was also reported missing on Sept. 17. Laundrie has been named a person of interest in the Petito case, and the FBI has issued an arrest warrant after he fraudulently used a debit card. Law enforcement authorities spent over a week combing through Florida swamps searching for Laundrie, the FBI announced that it would be taking over the case from North Port Police.

TV Host Joy Reid spoke out about the difference in coverage of the Petito case during a recent episode of “The ReidOut,” asking the question, “The way this story has captured media attention has many wondering, ‘why not the same media attention when people of color go missing?’”

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