Brian Laundrie, boyfriend of Gabby Petito and person of interest in her death is being searched for by the FBI.
Extreme online subcultures are standing in support of Laundrie and speaking disparagingly of Petito.
The posts are an insight into the ‘manosphere’, a misogynistic corner of the internet that is explicitly anti-feminist.
An FBI manhunt for Gabby Peitio’s boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, continues as the 23-year-old returned to his parents’ home in North Port, Florida, on September 1, but left ten days later and has not been seen since.
Insider reporters Connor Perrett, Rebecca Cohen, and Natalie Musumeci have detailed the complete timeline of events, from Petito and Laundrie getting together to him becoming a person of interest in her homicide. She was strangled to death in Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest, a coroner confirmed on Tuesday.
Her Long Island family lost communication with her in late August while she was on the “van life” road trip out West with Laundrie.
The young couple’s complicated relationship – with reports of abuse from and by both parties – has made the social media conversation about them heated.
Specific groups are particularly supportive of Laundrie. Corners of the manosphere – an internet subculture dedicated to men’s rights and misogyny – call for people to defend him.
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 DV abuse conferences about “how to fight back against your abuser.”
The poster refers to women as “bloodthirsty, vengeful Feminist SIMP mobs of self-entitled Narcissistic KARENS.”
The police bodycam footage of the couple fighting in their van became an opportunity for commentators to make crude, intimate comments about the young woman.
A Mod Bot, a moderator bot, part of the system that automatically performs tasks within a server, on the channel, wrote under any post: “Brian Laundrie is a victim of domestic abuse who is being unfairly maligned in the court of woefully uninformed public opinion.”
Others call people advocating for or expressing sadness at the death of Petito “angry femcels.”
They have given Petito the cruel nickname “Flabs” and call 22-year-old women “harlots.”
One user writes, “glad he took care of that abuser.”
What do we know about the manosphere
The posts are an insight into the so-called manosphere, the network of websites and forums hosting misogynistic content that laud male supremacy.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has described it as an “underworld of misogynists, woman-haters whose fury goes well beyond criticism of the family court system, domestic violence laws, and false rape accusations… [who are] devoted to attacking virtually all women (or, at least, Westernized ones).”
Laura Bates, author, and founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, writes that it is easy to assume that virtual hostility is quarantined within the confines of the internet.
“The offline impact of the killers who have taken incel beliefs to heart, experienced radicalization online, and put their ideas into practice, using real bullets and blades, is the devastating proof that such an assumption couldn’t be further from the truth.” – Laura Bates, Men Who Hate Women
The manosphere is accused of inspiring Jake Davison, the shooter who killed five people and himself in Plymouth, south England, and Elliot Roger, who committed the Isla Vista mass shooting in 2014, at a Sorority House at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Before he went on his killing spree, Roger released a video and a written manifesto hitting out at women for not sleeping with him, saying “you girls have never been attracted to me. I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me, but I will punish you all for it.”
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