The Washington Post has fired reporter Felicia Sonmez after a week of newsroom turmoil that started when Post reporter Dave Weigel retweeted a politically incorrect joke that triggered Sonmez and led to Weigel being suspended without pay for thirty days. Sonmez, who has self-admitted trauma issues, then spent everyday since agitating online about the Post’s alleged mistreatment of employees and fighting with colleagues even after Executive Editor Sally Buzbee issued a blanket statement to all to stop the infighting.
Sonmez leaving the Post was first reported by the Daily Beast and quickly confirmed by others who reported she was fired.
The Washington Post has parted ways with national political reporter Felicia Sonmez, The Daily Beast has confirmed, capping off a week’s worth of highly public drama at the paper.
Sonmez’s apparent exit from the paper comes after a week of WaPo infighting that stoked heated conversations over newsroom inequity and social-media use, with multiple reporters taking shots at one another in public.
Dylan Byers, “NEWS: Felicia Sonmez was *fired* by The Washington Post, per sources familiar. This was not a separation agreement.”
NEWS: Felicia Sonmez was *fired* by The Washington Post, per sources familiar. This was not a separation agreement. https://t.co/aSSaPB6XuI
— Dylan Byers (@DylanByers) June 9, 2022
CNN’s Oliver Darcy who has been covering the troubles at the Post confirmed the firing, adding, “The Washington Post’s termination notice, a copy of which was seen by CNN, said Sonmez was fired for “misconduct that includes insubordination, maligning your coworkers online and violating The Post’s standards on workplace collegiality and inclusivity.”
The Washington Post's termination notice, a copy of which was seen by CNN, said Sonmez was fired for "misconduct that includes insubordination, maligning your coworkers online and violating The Post's standards on workplace collegiality and inclusivity." https://t.co/LTS0KBQsNs
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) June 9, 2022
Thursday morning Sonmez was still attacking the Post on Twitter in a thread that started with her responding to a report about her “trauma”
“I stand by what I wrote in that email. In 2018, I was punished after I told my editors I needed to take a walk around the block after reading a difficult story. Other colleagues have been punished for their trauma far more recently, but their stories aren’t mine to tell. 1/…I don’t know who the colleagues anonymously disparaging me in media reports are. 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. 9/ – They are 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 among the “stars” who “get away with murder” on social media. 10/”
I stand by what I wrote in that email. In 2018, I was punished after I told my editors I needed to take a walk around the block after reading a difficult story.
Other colleagues have been punished for their trauma far more recently, but their stories aren’t mine to tell. 1/ https://t.co/uLXvL2fVmA
— Felicia Sonmez (@feliciasonmez) June 9, 2022
Of course the Washington Post is a great workplace.
It is a great workplace *for them.*
The system is working *for them.*
What about for everyone else?
The General Assignment team? The Morning Mix team? The newsletter researchers? 11/ https://t.co/ZndIMq5RZe
— Felicia Sonmez (@feliciasonmez) June 9, 2022
Earlier this year Sonmez lost a lawsuit against the Post alleging workplace discrimination over her being a sexual assault victim. Sonmez reportedly appealed the judgment. (excerpt from Politico):
A judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit filed against the Washington Post by one of its reporters, Felicia Sonmez, over her claims that the paper illegally discriminated against her as a sexual assault victim when it banned her from reporting on such issues.
D.C. Superior Court Judge Anthony Epstein ruled that Sonmez’s suit did not plausibly allege a valid discrimination claim under D.C. law because the Post appeared to have limited her assignments based on concerns about the paper’s perceived impartiality rather than based on her gender or the fact she had publicly claimed to be the victim of sexual assault while working for other news outlets in China in 2017.
Sonmez was suspended by the Post two years ago after she caused an uproar in the newsroom with her tweets attacking Kobe Bryant in the hours after his shocking death in a helicopter crash (excerpt via Deadline.)
“In a statement, Post managing editor Tracy Grant said, “National political reporter Felicia Sonmez was placed on administrative leave while The Post reviews whether tweets about the death of Kobe Bryant violated The Post newsroom’s social media policy. The tweets displayed poor judgment that undermined the work of her colleagues.“”
Washington Post reporter @feliciasonmez deleted her crass tweets about Kobe Bryant. But screen grabs are forever – and I took some before she deleted the tweets.
Bye, Felicia. pic.twitter.com/IvNZHkiBam
— Matthew Keys (@MatthewKeysLive) January 26, 2020
Sonmez does not appear to have commented publicly yet on her reported firing by the Post.