A Fox News guest called the Gabby Petito story an ongoing 'Lifetime movie' for Americans, sparking debate over the massive attention paid to the case

  • A Fox News segment about Gabby Petito sparked debate over the attention paid to her case.

  • Contributor Raymond Arroyo called the Petito story a "distraction" from global issues.

  • A viral TikTok called Arroyo's remarks "insensitive," but other listeners agreed with him.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Debate over how much attention is being paid to Gabby Petito has swept social media, where millions have engaged with updates in the missing-person case that turned into a criminal investigation after a body matching the 22-year-old's description was found near Grand Teton National Park.

A Fox News contributor called the case a "distraction" on-air, sparking debate on his social media profiles and in a TikTok that has more than 1.1 million views.

"With all that's happening in the world, what's happening at our southern border and abroad and at home, I think this entire story is a huge distraction," Fox guest Raymond Arroyo said on "The Big Sunday Show" on Sunday. "This is like a Lifetime movie, an ongoing mini-series for America, but I think it's basically a local story."

Arroyo went on to bless Petito and her family. "I hope they get to the bottom of it but I do worry we're spending way too much time on this case," he said.

Petito's missing-person case gained overnight international attention after her once-fiancé Brian Laundrie returned home to North Port, Florida without her. The couple had been traveling across the Northwest US in a renovated camper and documenting their "van life" journey on social media.

Authorities have since named Laundrie, who was also reported missing last Tuesday, as a person of interest in Petito's disappearance. Petito was last heard from in late August; Laundrie returned to his family home on September 1 and Petito's family reported her missing on September 11.

Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito.
Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito. North Port Police Department

The viral TikTok called Arroyo's comments "insensitive." The creator showed their middle finger at the screen after Arroyo was finished speaking.

But Arroyo's take has been more positively received on his own social media profiles, where he highlighted the national FBI database of missing people and wrote, "It is important to remember that there are many more missing children and adults who get little coverage."

Arroyo's follow-up comments resonate with other viral posts identifying missing-person cases besides Petito's. 710 Indigenous people, mostly girls, have been reported missing in the past decade in Wyoming, the same state where the remains believed to be Petito were recovered.

"The fiancée [sic] clearly knows something," Arroyo previously tweeted about Laundrie. "But this national obsession with a missing person case is a distraction from bigger issues."

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