WaPo Newsroom Revolt, Day 7: Reporter Leading The Charge Finally Cries ‘White’ Privilege

(Photo by ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images)

Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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Washington Post national political reporter Felicia Sonmez called out her “white” colleagues Thursday for defending the newspaper in the ongoing newsroom revolt.

“I don’t know who the colleagues anonymously disparaging me in media reports are,” Sonmez said. “But I do know that the reporters who issued synchronized tweets this week downplaying the Post’s workplace issues have a few things in common with each other. They’re all white. They are among the highest-paid employees in the newsroom, making double and even triple what some other National desk reporters are making, particularly journalists of color.”

“They are amongst the ‘stars’ who ‘get away with murder’ on social media,” she continued.

The newsroom revolt arose after political reporter David Weigel retweeted a joke by YouTuber Cam Harless that said “Every girl is bi. You just have to figure out if its polar or sexual.” The retweet led to a month-long suspension without pay. Sonmez replied sarcastically saying, “Fantastic to work at a news outlet where retweets like this are allowed!” (RELATED: ‘Twitter Is Not The Real World!’: ‘The View’ Blasts WaPo Reporter Felicia Sonmez For Targeting Her Co-Workers) 

The retweet caused an uproar in the newsroom, particularly by Sonmez, who has continuously targeted her own colleagues on Twitter. She retweeted several critics of Weigel and accused the Post of unfairly treating employees based on their backgrounds.

“For years, Post employees have been raising concerns of unequal treatment of employees from different backgrounds, or of ‘stars’ versus everyone else—not just when it comes to social media use. None of this is new,” she said Tuesday.

Her colleague, Jose A. Real, accused Sonmez of “bullying” and “clout chasing” in response to her continued criticisms of Weigel. He called the retweet “terrible and unacceptable,” but called on her to challenge him “with compassion.”

“Felicia, we all mess up from time to time. Engaging in repeated and targeted public harassment of a colleague is neither a good look nor is it particularly effective. It turns the language of inclusivity into clout chasing and bullying,” Real said in a June 4 tweet. “I don’t this is appropriate.”

Sonmez then accused Real of bullying and claimed his tweets violated the company’s social media policy.

“So I hear The Washington Post is a collegial workplace,” she said in response to Real blocking her. “These tweets falsely accusing me of ‘clout chasing,’ ‘bullying,’ ‘cruelty,’ and directing an ‘eager mob’ to carry out a ‘barrage online abuse’ are still up … even after I repeatedly raised them to management and noted that I’ve been receiving threats and abuse. Collegial!”

Washington Post Executive Editor Sally Buzbee warned against attacking colleagues “face to face or online” in a Tuesday memo.

Sonmez was suspended in 2020 after tweeting out a Daily Beast story about rape allegations brought forth against late NBA star Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash along with his 13-year-old daughter.