Washington Post Fires Reporter Who Lashed Out at Colleagues, Management

Washington Post Fires Reporter Who Lashed Out at Colleagues, Management
A man walks into the Washington Post building in Washington on May 16, 2019. (Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images)
Zachary Stieber

The Washington Post has fired Felicia Sonmez, the reporter who spent a week criticizing colleagues and management on Twitter.

Sonmez was fired for “misconduct that includes insubordination, maligning your co-workers online and violating The Post’s standards on workplace collegiality and inclusivity," according to the paper.

A Post spokesperson declined to comment.

An email to Sonmez bounced back, with a message indicating the address was no longer in operation.

Sonmez has not commented on the development on Twitter, where she launched a series of tirades following the retweet, or sharing, of a joke about women by fellow reporter Dave Weigel on June 3.

Weigel quickly undid the action and apologized, but Sonmez circulated a screenshot of the joke and said it was "Fantastic to work at a news outlet where retweets like this are allowed!"

Wiegel was soon suspended for a month, the Post reported.

Sonmez continued posting about the situation, turning her ire on colleagues who asked her to refrain from posting publicly on the matter. Some had pointed out that Weigel defended Sonmez in 2018 when she noted retired basketball star Kobe Bryant was accused of sexual assault after Bryant died in 2020 in a helicopter crash.

Sonmez then began criticizing management, who she said was not dealing properly with the matter, and colleagues who shared similar messages about how the Post is not perfect but they're proud to work there. Those colleagues "are all white," she said in one post. She also identified by name several editors who she said treated her unfairly in the past.

Sonmez sued the Post and top editors in 2021 for allegedly discriminating against her due to her gender and "her protected status as a victim of a sexual offense."

Sonmez has claimed she was sexually assaulted by Jonathan Kaiman, another reporter, who has denied the claim.

Sonmez said she was not allowed to cover stories with a nexus with sexual assault because of her history, and took offense with how she was suspended after her post about Bryant. According to the lawsuit, the Post lifted the suspension after several days and said the post did not violate its social media policy.

The suit, filed in District of Columbia Superior Court, was thrown out by Superior Court Judge Anthony Epstein, who said Sonmez's allegations "do not support a plausible inference that the Post discriminated against her, or created a hostile work environment, wholly or partially because she is the victim of a sexual assault or a woman."

Sonmez's lawyer has said she planned to appeal.