Fox News contributor Raymond Arroyo has come under fire for calling the Gabby Petito case a “huge distraction” from political matters.
A clip of Mr Arroyo speaking on Fox News was uploaded by TikToker Morgan S’more on Sunday and has since gone viral. In the video, Mr Arroyo seems to claim that the media was giving more attention to Petito’s case than other matters.
“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,” Mr Arroyo said, according to the Daily Dot.
“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 added. “I hope they get to the bottom of it, but I do worry we’re spending way too much time on this case.”
The video angered some as it came on the day the FBI announced they found a body believed to be the missing van-life blogger in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park. An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday.
Several users took to Twitter to denounce Mr Arroyo’s comments, though some also agreed with him.
“@RaymondArroyo is everything wrong with this country. Individual lives matter. All lives matter,” wrote a user called Paul Murray. “To say the death of someone is a distraction shows a classless lack of empathy. Utterly disgusting!”
“Raymond Arroyo I am so sorry you are being distracted by the missing of a young woman who might not come back alive,” wrote another user, Carole Bruns. “I hope the families [family’s] fear and dread does not bother you too much. All other news is being reported constantly. Gabby Petito is important also.”
Mr Arroyo, however, reiterated his point on Twitter and posted an FBI list of missing children and adults “who get little coverage.”
A user responding to Mr Arroyo’s tweet wrote in his support: “Gabby Petito is the latest manifestation of the Missing White Woman Syndrome.”
The disappearance of the 22-year-old woman in late August has drawn widespread attention and has become a national concern.
Ms Petito disappeared while on a road trip with her fiancé Brian Laundrie, who returned without her, prompting a frantic search since 11 September. Mr Laundrie was later named a person of interest in the search.
Mr Laundrie left the home he shared with his parents last Tuesday, telling them he was going for a hike in the nearby Carlton Reserve. On Monday, police said they had “exhausted all avenues” for finding Ms Petito’s fiancé. The search for Mr Laundrie is still underway.