Felicia Sonmez triggered some internal drama after calling out fellow reported Dave Weigel on Twitter for an alleged sexist tweet.
The now-deleted retweet said “Every girl is bi. You just have to figure out if it’s polar or sexual.”
Fantastic to work at a news outlet where retweets like this are allowed! pic.twitter.com/zs4dX4qprH
— Felicia Sonmez (@feliciasonmez) June 3, 2022
Sonmez shared a screenshot of the retweet and said “Fantastic to work at a news outlet where retweets like this are allowed!”
The kerfuffle spilled over into the company’s internal communications network, where Sonmez questioned him on an internal Slack channel, asking him “I’m sorry but what is this?”
She added that his retweet sent “a confusing message about what the Post‘s values are.”
Weigel apologized and deleted the tweet, but was still given a monthlong suspension.
Washington Post chief spokesman Kris Coratti told the press, “editors have made clear to the staff that the tweet was reprehensible and demeaning language or actions like that will not be tolerated.”
Another Post journalist, Jose A. Del Real, chastised Sonmez for openly lambasting her colleague.
Felicia, we all mess up from time to time. Engaging in repeated and targeted public harassment of a colleague is neither a good look nor is it particularly effective. It turns the language of inclusivity into clout chasing and bullying. I don’t think this is appropriate.
— Jose A. Del Real (@jdelreal) June 4, 2022
The feud spurred the release of an internal memo requesting that reporters “treat each other with respect and kindness both in the newsroom and online.”
Sonmez did not heed this advice, and targeted Del Real in a lengthy Twitter tirade.
Jose, Dave’s retweet was indeed terrible and unacceptable. It was also public, and it’s important that all those who saw Dave’s tweet also see Washington Post reporters standing up for our newspaper’s values — one of which is that comments denigrating women will not be tolerated.
— Felicia Sonmez (@feliciasonmez) June 5, 2022
Another internal memo was sent, saying the Post does “not tolerate colleagues attacking colleagues either face to face or online.”
In a CNN interview, the paper’s chief spokesman, Kris Corratti, said the infighting was also “being addressed directly with the individuals involved.”
In what would be her final act as a Washington Post journalist, Sonmez posted a lengthy rant complaining about the Post‘s “longstanding” pattern of punishing employees “for their 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/ https://t.co/uLXvL2fVmA
— Felicia Sonmez (@feliciasonmez) June 9, 2022
Sonmez, who presents as white and is of Caucasian descent, claimed that her critics were performing a synchronized public attack on her because of their whiteness.
It does not appear as if Weigel will be allowed to return from his suspension early.