On Monday, September 27th, Insider, ran this headline, “News anchor suspended in dispute over coverage of Gabby Petito and women of color.”
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.”
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.
Thomas Robb, the National Director of the Knights Party, based in Harrison, Arkansas, spoke out about this saying, “Of America’s population, only 13% are black. This is includes black males, so the population of black females is under 13%, so statistically there has to be more White women that turn up missing in America. After all, this is a White country. Alot of these White women are kidnapped, beaten, tortured, and eventually killed. I believe there’s so many White women that fall victim to these crimes because, and before I say this, I certainly am not comparing White women anywhere to personal possessions, or putting a dollar amount on their lives, so don’t take as that, and I’m not saying that all White women are of good moral character either, but on the average, they certainly are. My point is, if you were a thief, and kidnapping is a form of theft, but if you were going to steal a watch, would you steal a Timex, or would you steal a Rolex? The White race is God’s chosen people, so you can’t get any better than that. My belief is that White women are targeted more for their qualities, their beauty, and their good moral character.”