Washington Post fires Felicia Sonmez after Twitter battles: reports
The Washington Post fired political reporter Felicia Sonmez on Thursday after she spent the last week sharply criticizing her colleagues and the paper’s leadership, according to multiple reports.
Sonmez did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Her firing was reported by CNN, the Daily Beast and New York Times reporter Katie Robinson
Kris Coratti Kelly, The Washington Post’s chief communications officer, told The New York Post: “We do not discuss personnel matters.”
Sonmez, who has been at the paper for a decade, made headlines last Friday when she blasted fellow political reporter Dave Weigel for retweeting a sexist joke. Weigel subsequently apologized and was suspended without pay for a month.
On Tuesday, Washington Post Executive Editor Sally Buzbee warned reporters to maintain a “collegial” workplace and refrain from attacking colleagues on Twitter.
But Sonmez took to the social media platform again Thursday to blast Post reporters who sent out tweets praising the Jeff Bezos-owned paper as a “collegial” workplace and “downplaying the Post’s workplace issues.”
The Harvard-educated journalist noted that the reporters who “issued synchronized tweets … are all white” and 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.”
Many of her colleagues had been getting fed up with Sonmez’s social media onslaught, Vanity Fair reported on Wednesday
“Working at a huge news organization — the Post, the New York Times, CNN — is like living in a big city where there are always emergencies,” one staffer told the outlet.
“As a colleague, you probably should be trying to help fund the fire department or city services and make it a better place to live; at worst, you’re not paying your taxes,” another said.
“And then you have Felicia, who is essentially pouring gasoline on every fire and inviting people to watch.”
The article detailed an incident where Sonmez sent a “reply all” email from Matea Gold, the Washington Post’s national editor, in which the reporter alleged she was “punished [in 2018] after I told an editor that I had to take a walk around the block after reading a difficult story.”
In what appears to be her final tweetstorm before being canned, she linked to the Vanity Fair article.
She accused the paper of “punishing reporters for their trauma” and of “discouraging them from seeking help they need.”
“I care deeply about my colleagues, and I want this institution to provide support for all employees,” Sonmez tweeted.
“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,” she said.
—Additional reporting by Ariel Zilber