“Fantastic to work at a news outlet where retweets like this are allowed!” Washington Post reporter Felicia Sonmez raged after sharing a screengrabbed retweet from colleague Dave Weigel.
There’s been no shortage of drama and intrigue at the Washington Post over the last few days after one of their reporters, Felicia Sonmez, lashed out at a colleague on Twitter over what she and her sisters in solidarity have deemed a “sexist” retweet.
It all started Friday after Dave Weigel, a political correspondent at the paper, shared a tweet from another Twitter user who joked about how in his view “Every girl is bi. You just have to figure out if it’s polar or sexual.”
This set Sonmez off, so much so that instead of taking her issue with Weigel to DMs where they could maybe settle it amicably (and privately), she screengrabbed it and posted it to her own feed with the caption “Fantastic to work at a news outlet where retweets like this are allowed!”
Fantastic to work at a news outlet where retweets like this are allowed! pic.twitter.com/zs4dX4qprH
— Felicia Sonmez (@feliciasonmez) June 3, 2022
As per the norm, a pile on commenced, with ex-CNNer Soledad O’Brien accusing Weigel of retweeting “misogynistic crap,” and BBC reporter Megha Mohan trotting out the woman card by proclaiming that a “minority journalist, monitored ferociously by certain colleagues, would not get away” with what Weigel (didn’t) get away with. Sonmez, of course, enthusiastically retweeted the reactions of those who rushed to her side in suggesting the WaPo fostered a toxic working environment.
Though Weigel deleted the RT and apologized a short time later and the Washington Post declared that such language would not be tolerated at the paper, it wasn’t enough to soothe Sonmez’s frayed edges.
Since then, Sonmez has written umpteen threads about the “issue,” and also blasted another colleague (in a couple of threads at last check) for committing the sin of telling her in so many words that she was being counterproductive by overreacting (and for then defending himself when she lambasted him again later).
She has also made sure to remind readers of her longstanding grievances with the paper, including how they suspended her once over tweets about Kobe Bryant after he was killed in a helicopter crash, and how they allegedly “punished me for my own trauma” by limiting her reporting on sexual assault cases over concern there would be questions about her impartiality due to the fact that Sonmez claimed to be sexually assaulted in 2017 when working for the Wall Street Journal.
In March, Sonmez lost a discrimination lawsuit against the Washington Post after 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.” So obviously Sonmez has a lot of pent-up frustrations with the WaPo and Weigel, it sounds like, just happened to be a convenient target.
Because Sonmez and the outrage mob have continued to kick up dust over the “issue” of Weigel’s supposedly offensive retweet, he was suspended without pay for a month. Interestingly enough, Weigel was one of the numerous Washington Post reporters who defended Sonmez in 2020 after the paper suspended her over the Kobe Bryant tweets, proving once again that in woke newsrooms, no good deed goes unpunished:
— David Weigel (@daveweigel) January 29, 2020
In an odd twist to this story, on Tuesday, numerous Washington Post reporters took to the Twitter machine to express how much they supposedly loved working for the paper in what appeared to be a coordinated PR campaign similar to the one VP Kamala Harris’ staff members engaged in in 2021 after she faced a wave of bad press:
They're still doing this. More and more: all saying exactly the same thing with the exact same words, publicly professing their love for the Washington Post in identical language. This is not healthy behavior. Why are they doing this? pic.twitter.com/f2iG5JoFL4
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) June 7, 2022
Those tweets came after a new memo was issued by WaPo higher-ups taking what appeared to be a veiled shot at Sonmez’s obnoxious antics:
New: @SallyBuzbee sends stern memo to WaPo staff, reiterating newsroom's values against "racist or sexist behavior" and saying that "we do not tolerate colleagues attacking colleagues either face to face or online." pic.twitter.com/E2bpiFCCyS
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) June 7, 2022
What do famed WaPo journalists Woodward and Bernstein have to say about all of this? Nothing as of yet, but that hasn’t stopped others (like yours truly) of asking questions of them about the matter in the meantime:
"Woodward and Bernstein share Watergate journalism lessons that still apply today" – does that include shouting down WaPo colleagues in public for 1) tacky (but harmless) jokes and 2) for calling for civility? https://t.co/q1tIbgipmy
— Sister Toldjah 😁 (@sistertoldjah) June 7, 2022
The very public spat between the WaPo and Sonmez comes as they face more criticism from readers over tech/social media reporter Taylor Lorenz’s highly questionable reporting methods, most recently in a piece where they had to issue multiple corrections (with some of them “revised”) on a story she wrote about Internet influencers and the Depp-Heard trial.
— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —DONATE
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