Felicia Sonmez Is Fired by The Washington Post

Business


Felicia Sonmez, a reporter for The Washington Post who in recent days has been at the center of a debate over the organization’s social media policies, was fired on Thursday, according to a person with knowledge of the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss personnel matters.

Ms. Sonmez declined to comment. Her internal Slack account was deactivated by Thursday afternoon, according to a screenshot viewed by The New York Times.

Ms. Sonmez, a national political reporter, sued the paper and several top editors in 2021, saying that they had discriminated against her by banning her from covering stories about sexual assault after she had publicly identified herself as a victim of assault. The case was dismissed in March, and Ms. Sonmez’s lawyer at the time said that she planned to appeal.

In the past week, she has been at the center of a public firestorm over the newsroom’s culture. On Friday, Dave Weigel, a political reporter at the paper, retweeted a sexist joke that implied women were either bisexual or bipolar. Ms. Sonmez then tweeted, “Fantastic to work at a news outlet where retweets like this are allowed!” Mr. Weigel apologized for the tweet, and was later suspended by The Post for a month.

In the following days, Ms. Sonmez wrote a series of posts on Twitter about the newsroom culture at The Post and what she said was the uneven way its social media policy was applied to different reporters. At times she jousted with fellow journalists at The Post on Twitter.

Sally Buzbee, the executive editor of The Post, subsequently wrote two memos to the newsroom asking for colleagues not to attack each other on social media.

“The newsroom social media policy points specifically to the need for collegiality,” Ms. Buzbee wrote in an email on Tuesday.

Benjamin Mullin contributed reporting.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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