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The Washington Post fires reporter who spent the week criticizing colleagues on Twitter

The Washington Post has fired political reporter Felicia Sonmez after she lit a firestorm at the paper by publicly criticizing her colleagues and management.

Sonmez was released on charges of “misconduct, including insubordination, defaming your colleagues online and violating The Post’s standards of collegiality and inclusivity in the workplace,” according to a frequent termination email.

The Washington Post reports that Sonmez would today play a “key role” in their coverage of the January 6 prime-time hearings, before she was fired.

On the day she was fired, Sonmez tweeted, “I care deeply about my colleagues and I want this institution to support all employees. Right now, The Post is a place where many of us fear our trauma will be used against us, based on the company’s past actions.”

Sonmez, 39, was fired after a week in which she publicly went out with some of her colleagues, accusing management of not supporting female staff and protecting only ‘white stars’.

It started last week after political reporter Dave Weigel retweeted an inappropriate joke that read, “Every girl is bi. You just have to find out if it’s bisexual or bipolar.’

Sonmez, who had previously sued her employers over claims she was banned from reporting sexual assaults before the trial was dismissed in March this year, repeatedly labeled his retweet “sexist.”

She also retweets his tweet and writes sarcastically: “Great to work at a news station that allows these kinds of retweets.”

Weigel apologized for the retweet, but was still suspended for a month without payment.

Felicia Sonmez first joined The Post in 2010, left in 2013 and rejoined The Post in 2018

Felicia Sonmez first joined The Post in 2010, left in 2013 and rejoined The Post in 2018

This was the retweet sent out by David Weigel that started the controversy

This was the retweet sent out by David Weigel that started the controversy

Weigel was banned for a month without pay

Weigel was banned for a month without pay

Sonmez first joined The Post in 2010 before leaving in 2013 to rejoin in 2018.

The day after Weigel’s controversial retweet, Jose A. Del Real, another former colleague of Sonmez’s, that Weigel’s retweet was “terrible and unacceptable,” accused her of “repeated and targeted public harassment of a colleague.”

Del Real also accused Sonmez of “gathering the internet to attack for a mistake he made that doesn’t really fix anything.” The reporter continued: “We’re all making a mess of it in one way or another. There is such a thing as challenging with compassion.’

In her response to Del Real, Sonmez said that “sexism is not cruelty.” She also said, “When women stand up for themselves, some people respond with even more vitriol.”

The pair exchanged Twitter blows until Del Real blocked Sonmez on Sunday. Sonmez in one tweet asked why no action was taken against Del Real over his posts.

In the midst of that Twitter spat, Del Real deactivated and reactivated his Twitter account, reports New York magazine.

On Monday, The Washington Post’s editor-in-chief, Sally Buzbee, who has been employed for less than a year, sent a memo to staff discussing professional etiquette.

Buzbee issued a second memo Tuesday saying that management would not “tolerate colleagues attacking colleagues in person or online.” Respect for others is vital for any civil society, including our editorial staff.’

A video technician for The Post, Breanna Muir, responded to that memo, saying the newspaper had a “toxic work environment,” The Daily Beast reports.

Sonmez sent this message the same day she was fired

Sonmez sent this message the same day she was fired

One of Sonmez's former colleagues accused her of 'repeated and targeted public harassment of a colleague'

One of Sonmez’s former colleagues accused her of ‘repeated and targeted public harassment of a colleague’

During this Twitter exchange, Del Real deactivated and reactivated his Twitter account

During this Twitter exchange, Del Real deactivated and reactivated his Twitter account

Del Real later blocked Sonmez on Twitter

Del Real later blocked Sonmez on Twitter

During this time, Sonmez was active on her Twitter page, posting a lengthy thread accusing management of preferring more prominent reporters.

Also during this time, several Post employees are tweeting about their pride to work at the newspaper.

Those who said they were proud were called out on Thursday by Sonmez in a Twitter thread in which she pointed out that they were “all white” and “were among the ‘stars’ who ‘get away with murder’ on social media.”

Sonmez also said, “Of course The Washington Post is a great place to work. It’s a great place to work *for them.* The system works *for them.* And for everyone else? The General Assignment Team? The Morning Mix team? The newsletter researchers?’

When Lisa Rein of The Post tweeted to Sonmez, saying, ‘Please stop.’ Sonmez replied, “Do you have any idea of ​​the deluge of abuse I’m dealing with right now?”

In another conversation, Sonmez criticized national editor Matea Gold for suggesting reporters take the time to “take care of their mental health” after the Buffalo and Uvalde shootings in May.

Sonmez said she was once reprimanded for telling an editor to “go around the block after reading a difficult story.”

It was not the first time that Sonmez took on her former employers. In 2021, she sued the newspaper after claiming she was blacklisted from reporting sexual assault for coming forward about her own assault.

Sonmez had said that The Post prevented her from writing about Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, now a Supreme Court judge, and that she was later removed from other stories.

Sonmez told The Times that a statement from her would come through The Washington Post Guild.  The guild represents more than 1,000 Post employees

Sonmez told The Times that a statement from her would come through The Washington Post Guild. The guild represents more than 1,000 Post employees

Sonmez said some at The Washington Post 'get away with murder' on social media'

Sonmez said some at The Washington Post ‘get away with murder’ on social media’

Sonmez said she was once punished for asking to go for a walk after reading a difficult story

Sonmez said she was once punished for asking to go for a walk after reading a difficult story

Sonmez sued The Washington Post in 2021 after accusing them of being blacklisted from certain stories

Sonmez sued The Washington Post in 2021 after accusing them of being blacklisted from certain stories

Sonmez was suspended in January 2021 after posting this tweet about Kobe Bryant

Sonmez was suspended in January 2021 after posting this tweet about Kobe Bryant

The lawsuit was dropped in March 2022.

Sonmez accused The Post’s management of causing her “economic loss, humiliation, embarrassment, mental and emotional distress.”

In his ruling on the lawsuit, Judge Anthony Epstein noted that The Post claimed it was taking action against Sonmez over her public statements, in order to avoid the appearance or perception of bias. He said that was not against the law.

“A news publication has a constitutionally protected right to establish and enforce policies intended to protect the public’s confidence in its impartiality and objectivity,” he wrote.

Sonmez’s attorney, Sundeep Hora, said in an email: “We are disappointed with the court’s reasoning and plan to appeal the decision.” Washington Post spokesman Kris Coratti declined to comment.

In her complaint, she said an editor had told her that “it would create ‘the appearance of a conflict of interest'” if she made a report of sexual misconduct.

In 2020, Sonmez was suspended by The Post after tweeting an article about Kobe Bryant’s sexual assault case not long after his death.

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