The Washington Post fired national political reporter Felicia Sonmez after her continuous criticism of the newspaper, according to multiple sources.
The Post terminated her Thursday afternoon, though the Post declined to comment due to privacy concerns, the Daily Beast first reported.
News: The Washington Post has terminated reporter Felicia Sonmez, according to a source close to the situation.
It happened this afternoon. Post PR is declining to comment, citing privacy issues.
— Jeremy Barr (@jeremymbarr) June 9, 2022
Sonmez continuously targeted her colleagues in the newsroom and criticized the higher ups at her own newspaper beginning June 3 when political reporter Dave 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 Post later suspended Weigel for a month without pay.
In response, Sonmez sarcastically replied, “Fantastic to work at a news outlet where retweets like this are allowed!”
She then began retweeting criticisms of Weigel and consistently accused the Post of unfair treatment of employees based on their backgrounds.
And honestly, we’ve known it for far longer than that.
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. 11/x
— Felicia Sonmez (@feliciasonmez) June 7, 2022
Her colleague, Jose A. Real, accused her of “clout chasing” and “bullying” in response to her continuing public criticism of Weigel.
“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 think this is appropriate.” (RELATED: WaPo Newsroom Revolt, Day 7: Reporter Leading The Charge Finally Cries ‘White’ Privilege)
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. I don’t think this is appropriate.
— Jose A. Del Real (@jdelreal) June 4, 2022
“You may view it as a simple matter of someone ‘messing up,'” Sonmez said. “I view it differently. My timeline this past day has been full of women — reporters, readers, sources — wondering whether this means they can’t trust the Post to report on them and for them.”
You may view it as a simple matter of someone “messing up.” I view it differently. My timeline this past day has been full of women — reporters, readers, sources — wondering whether this means they can’t trust the Post to report on them and for them.
— Felicia Sonmez (@feliciasonmez) June 5, 2022
Sonmez then accused Real of making false accusations about her and violating the company’s social media policy. She screenshot and posted tweets of his reaction to her ongoing uproar on Twitter and sarcastically called the Post a “collegial workplace.”
“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!”
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.
— Felicia Sonmez (@feliciasonmez) June 8, 2022
Another co-worker, Lisa Rein, pleaded for her to “please stop” targeting her colleagues and the company.
“Please stop,” Rein said.
“Please stop … requesting that tweets from a colleague falsely accusing me of ‘bullying’ and ‘clout chasing’ be taken down?” Sonmez replied. “Do you have any idea of the torrent of abuse I’m facing right now?”
Do you have any idea of the torrent of abuse I’m facing right now? https://t.co/s8Qgef4Jgd
— Felicia Sonmez (@feliciasonmez) June 8, 2022
In a Thursday tweet, she claimed the employees defending the Post are all “white” and the “highest paid.”
“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.”
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.