Frank Somerville Allegedly Suspended For Criticizing Gabby Petito Coverage

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[YouTube][Matthew Keys]

Damir Mujezinovic

Popular KTVU anchor Frank Somerville was “suspended indefinitely” last week after a disagreement with KTVU’s news director over coverage of the Gabby Petito case.

Petito went on a cross-country trip with her boyfriend Brian Laundrie in July, but never returned home.

Her body was found near Wyoming's Grand Trenton National Park, but Laundrie is still missing.

The mysterious case has captivated the nation's attention, but some have criticized the press for covering it extensively, claiming that reporters only care about missing person cases when a white woman is involved.

'Missing White Woman Syndrome'

Somerville was suspended precisely because he thought that his station was perpetrating the so-called "missing white woman syndrome," according to The Mercury News.

Somerville reportedly wanted to talk about missing women of color and criticized the media for focusing Petito's case while allegedly ignoring other similar cases, but news director Amber Eikel rejected the idea.

Eikel and newsroom producers reportedly thought it was neither the time nor the place to address the issue, though they weren't generally opposed to Somerville discussing it on KTVU.

Somerville Suspended

Somerville was informed that he was being suspended one day after clashing with Eikel and other executives.

Anonymous sources with inside knowledge told The Mercury News that some at the station believe Somerville was censored and treated unfairly, while others think he had no right to insist on sharing his views with the public.

As one person put it, Somerville is "paid to report the news, not his opinion."

Another individual familiar with the situation described the current newsroom environment as a "total sh*tshow."

What's Really Happening?

Neither KTVU nor Somerville have publicly addressed the situation, so it remains unclear if the anchor will ever return.

Somerville joined KTVU 30 years ago, in 1991, and has since become one of the station's most famous anchors, amassing fans across the country.

Somerville has never shied away from passionately sharing his opinions with the audience. He has nearly 600,000 followers on Facebook and frequently uses his massive platform to comment on various issues.

How are Somerville's fans taking the news? Scroll down to find out.

Fan Reactions

Commenters on reddit's /r/bayarea believe KTVU is in the wrong.

"Frank is an old a school journalist that actually has some pride and feels that the profession has some duty to the public. The station, like all modern news outlets, just cares about # of views. They wanted to milk this story for as much attention as possible," one redditor commented.

"Frank Somerville is my hero for the way he stood up for what he believes in. He has a black daughter and called out the hypocrisy in the handling of a missing white woman Compared to other missing women. Go on Frank, do your thing," another person added.

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