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News anchor suspended in dispute over coverage of Gabby Petito and women of color, report says

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Gabby Petito on her YouTube channel Nomadic Statik
Gabby Petito talking to the camera in a YouTube upload. YouTube/Nomadic Statik
  • The news anchor Frank Somerville was said to be removed over a dispute about Gabby Petito coverage.

  • The anchor was "suspended indefinitely," The Mercury News reported.

  • Sources told the outlet Somerville had wanted to note coverage disparities in missing-women cases.

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A San Francisco news anchor is said to have been taken off the air in a dispute over Gabby Petito coverage.

Sources told The Mercury News that Frank Somerville, the anchor for the Bay Area Fox station KTVU, was "suspended indefinitely" after he suggested a segment on Petito should include a line questioning the amount of media coverage her case had received.

The sources told the outlet that Somerville wanted to acknowledge the disparities in media attention between cases of missing white women and those of Indigenous women and women of color.

Somerville, who is white and has an adopted Black daughter, was said to have pushed back against management after being told his suggestion was "inappropriate."

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

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. Her body was found about a week later, and the FBI ruled her death homicide.

Laundrie 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 a display of "missing white woman syndrome," noting that similar cases involving women of color do not get the same attention.

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