A viral clip shows Fox News contributor Raymond Arroyo saying that the news coverage of Gabby Petito is “a huge distraction” from political issues going on in the country. TikTokers are saying his comment is disrespectful.
The clip was uploaded by TikToker Morgan S’more on Sunday, the same day that the FBI declared they’d found remains in Wyoming that matched the description of Petito.
The 22-year-old travel blogger was last heard from in late August and was reported missing on Sept. 11 by her family. Her case has drawn widespread coverage, with some deeming her “America’s daughter” while her fiancé and travel partner Brian Laundrie refuses to cooperate with authorities.
The TikToker shared a seconds-long clip where Arroyo is seen rather passionately claiming that the news was paying more attention to Petito than necessary.
“With all that’s happening in the world, what’s happening in our southern border and abroad and at home, I think this entire story is a huge distraction, forgive me,” he says, smirking.
“This is like a Lifetime movie, an ongoing mini-series for America but I think it’s basically a local story, it’s a missing person,” he continues, “I hope they get to the bottom of it, but I do worry we’re spending way too much time on this case.” He is then cut off by another speaker and the clip ends.
The video has been viewed more than 960,000 times since it was uploaded, with many expressing anger over Arroyo’s claim.
“If her story hadn’t blown up the way it did and people just didn’t know, they wouldn’t have found a body,” wrote one user.
“He wouldn’t be saying that if that was his daughter missing!” wrote another person.
“It’s bringing light to domestic violence that’s why he’s uncomfortable talking about it,” one user wrote.
The issue of domestic violence has been at the center of Petito’s case, with many sharing on social media how her behavior in police bodycam footage a few days before she went missing reflected signs of abuse.
Still, a lot of people in the comments said they agreed with Arroyo, while acknowledging that it sounds harsh.
“It’s heartbreaking! But he isn’t wrong!!!!!!” wrote one user.
“He’s no wrong tho… there are so many missing people… this one happened to go viral,” wrote one user. “I wish we treated every missing person like this.”
“He’s seriously not wrong at all,” said one TikTokers. “ALL of my social media pages are full of this case…there’s other missing people & other things we need to hear about.”
Some claimed that the reason Petito’s story gained so much coverage is because she is white—an issue that’s been raised by many on social media.
“White privilege is what it is,” wrote one user.
“Have you ever seen a missing person when the person is person of color? Me neither,” wrote another.
On Sunday, Arroyo tweeted about other missing children across the country and encouraged others to pay attention to their cases.
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*First Published: Sep 20, 2021, 4:20 pm CDT
Samira Sadeque is a New York-based journalist reporting on immigration, sexual violence, and mental health, and will sometimes write about memes and dinosaurs too. Her work also appears in Reuters, NPR, and NBC among other publications. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School, and her work has been nominated for SAJA awards. Follow: @Samideque