News anchor suspended in dispute about Gabby Petito and women of color coverage, reports say

Gabby Petito on her YouTube channel Nomadic Statik
Gabby Petito speaks to the camera in her only YouTube upload. YouTube/Nomadic Statik
  • News anchor Frank Somerville was removed due to a dispute over Gabby Petito coverage.
  • Somerville wanted to note the disparities between coverage of missing white women and women of color.
  • The anchor was “suspended indefinitely,” reported Mercury News.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A San Francisco news anchor has been taken off the air in a dispute over Gabby Petito coverage, reports say.

Frank Somerville, the anchor for Fox Bay Area news affiliate KTVU, was “suspended indefinitely” after he suggested that a segment on Petito should include a tagline acknowledging the “extraordinary” amount of media coverage her case had received, according to Mercury News.

Sources told the outlet that Somerville wanted to note the disparities in media attention towards cases of missing white women compared with indigenous women and women of color.

Somerville, who has an adopted Black daughter, reportedly pushed back against management after he was told his suggestion was “inappropriate.”

The news anchor’s suspension is his second this year. He was first taken off the air in May after slurring and stumbling over his words while reading from a teleprompter, and had only recently returned after an eight-week suspension.

Gabby Petito, 22, was reported missing by her family on September 11 after her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, arrived home from a road trip across the US, without her. Petito’s death has since been ruled a homicide by the FBI.

Brian Laundrie has refused to cooperate with the police investigation into Petito’s disappearance and has been missing since September 17.

Petito’s case has captured news headlines for weeks. Critics have described the avid media coverage as “missing white woman syndrome”, noting that similar cases of women of color do not get the same attention.