The family of Gabby Petito is not messing around — especially, we’d bet, when it comes to anyone associated with Brian Laundrie.
As we’re sure you’ve heard by now, the 22-year-old was found dead this week after going missing during a road trip with her boyfriend. He of course came back alone and then refused to cooperate with the investigation.
And now the lawyer that has been representing him and his family is using a photo of their baby girl on his Yelp, seemingly for the benefit of his business. Wow.
In a letter on Wednesday, the late YouTuber‘s family demanded that Steven Bertolino “cease and desist posting pictures of Gabby Petito to any and all of your social media pages, web pages or advertisements in an effort to gain business.” Their own attorney Richard Stafford noted that the family initially tried removing the photos but were notified that only the business owner could do that, so they issued a deadline of 2 p.m. on Wednesday for the attorney to take them down or “further action” would be taken.
We guess Bertolino wanted to avoid any legal consequences — or bad press. As of this writing, the pictures of Gabby are no longer there; the only photos remaining are of Laundrie (with one being a pic of the couple with her completely cropped out) and a screenshot of a short bio. However, Yelp has also added a notice to his page saying his business is being monitored.
In a statement to ABC7, Bertolino slammed the claims that he would use photos to help “drum up any business” is “disgusting,” saying:
“Just so you know, my website and any review sites that I do not control have been overrun by John Q. Public. Indeed yelp actually shut the site down due to the inordinate amount of fake commenting on it. I have not advertised any sort of business in over 20 years and I would certainly not use this case to drum up any business.”
A spokesperson for Yelp also confirmed to DailyMail.com that it was a user who actually uploaded the snapshots and not Bertolino. They also confirmed that the unidentified reviewer was also the one who deleted the photos on Wednesday, telling the outlet:
“We can confirm that the user who uploaded the photo removed it today. Yelp placed an Unusual Activity Alert, as part of our broader Consumer Alerts program, on the business’s Yelp page on Tuesday. Businesses and consumers can always report reviews and photos for removal if they believe the content violates Yelp’s Terms of Service or Content Guidelines.”
Additionally, both business owners and users can post photos on a page. But if the owner shares an image, it can only be removed by them. If uploaded by a user, then only that same user can delete it, which means only the person who posted Gabby’s pics were able to take them down in this case. Although Bertolino did not do it, the warning will definitely make him think twice about pushing the Petito family’s buttons.
As you know, there is obviously loads of tension between the Petito and Laundrie families right now as Gabby’s death has been ruled a homicide, and Brian, who is a person of interest in the investigation, is also still missing. According to DailyMail.com, the legal action even comes after her uncle Steve Petito ripped into Bertolino in a since-deleted Instagram post on Tuesday, accusing him of being “guilty and complicit with this massive cover-up.” He reportedly wrote:
“As far as the law is concerned this law firm may be immune due to attorney/client privilege. But in the eyes of the public you are as guilty and complicit with this massive cover-up and stalling tactic. We don’t require nor want your empathy. By you trying to show compassion here at this moment is beyond disgusting.”
The attorney reportedly told multiple outlets after the YouTuber’s body was found, sparking Steven’s anger:
“May Gabby Rest In Peace.”
The reaction to his response is completely understandable, as Brian repeatedly refused to speak with authorities about Gabby’s whereabouts before disappearing himself. Meanwhile, his family also took their sweet time in even reporting that the 23-year-old never returned from a hike despite knowing he was a person of interest in the investigation. Basically, they’ve been no help, and you really cannot help but wonder if the fam just wanted to give him a head start to escape.
Reactions to the Petito family’s cease and desist order, Perezcious readers? Let us know in the comments (below).
[Image via Gabby Petito/Instagram, NBC New York/YouTube]