Over the last several weeks, Americans across the country have rallied for justice for Gabby Petito, a 22-year-old who went missing during a cross-country road trip with her boyfriend and was later found dead. Twenty-three-year-old Brian Laundrie, who remains at large, has been named as the sole person of interest in her death — a label that’s earned him the ire of most who’ve been following the case.
According to a new report, however, there are some regions of the internet where Laundrie is being heralded as a hero.
“Corners of the manosphere — an internet subculture dedicated to men’s rights and misogyny — call for people to defend him,” Insider revealed in a shocking report Saturday.
There’s even reportedly an entire community on the platform Reddit dedicated to Laundrie.
The FriendsOfBrian subreddit, created for satirical jokes at “support” for Brian Laundrie, has many posts advocating for him. One follower wrote: “The funny thing is if you simply reversed the genders in this case then everyone would be defending Gabby as having acted in self-defense from an abusive boyfriend.
“She would also not spend a single day in jail and would be called upon to give speeches at [domestic violence] abuse conferences about ‘how to fight back against your abuser.'”
The user was reportedly referring to video footage that has been released showing police responding to a reported physical exchange between Petito and Laundrie. Many have argued that the footage suggests Petito was the victim of an abusive relationship.
But in the “manosphere,” they believe the opposite, claiming Laundrie is a victim of domestic abuse and even arguing that if he did kill Petito, he was somehow justified in doing so.
“[G]lad he took care of that abuser,” one user wrote, according to Insider.
While a warrant has been issued for Laundrie’s arrest on a charge related to debit card fraud, he has not been charged in Petito’s death to this point.
He and Petito took a road trip that found them in the western U.S., but only Laundrie returned from the trip. Upon his return to Florida, he met with his family, and about 10 days later, he’s said to have disappeared. He hasn’t been seen since.
More than a month after he was reported missing, speculation has run wild about where Laundrie might be, and some have even wondered whether his parents are helping him to evade authorities, an allegation they wholeheartedly deny.
We still don’t know the whole story. But at least for those of us who live outside of the “manosphere,” it’s hard to imagine Laundrie as the victim.