Washington Post Reporter Suspended After Kobe Bryant Tweets
A Washington Post reporter was suspended after her Kobe Bryant tweets sparked controversy.
Following Bryant’s death on Sunday, Washington Post politics reporter Felicia Sonmez responded to the incident by posting a story about his 2003 rape case written by The Daily Beast in 2016.
Needless to say, people did not take kindly to the gesture.
Washington Post reporter @feliciasonmez deleted her crass tweets about Kobe Bryant. But screen grabs are forever – and I took some before she deleted the tweets.
Bye, Felicia. pic.twitter.com/IvNZHkiBam
— Matthew Keys (@MatthewKeysLive) January 26, 2020
UPDATE: A person who works at the Washington Post says @feliciasonmez was NOT suspended for linking to the Daily Beast story on Twitter. Her suspension was related to a follow up tweet that contained a screen shot of her work email inbox, which revealed full names of emailers.
— Matthew Keys (@MatthewKeysLive) January 27, 2020
“To the 10,000 people (literally) who have commented and emailed me with abuse and death threats, please take a moment and read the story —which was written 3-plus years ago, and not by me,” Sonmez tweeted.
“Any public figure is worth remembering in their totality even if that public figure is beloved and that totality unsettling.
“That folks are responding with rage and threats toward me (someone who didn’t even write the piece but found it well-reported) speaks volumes about the pressure people come under to stay silent in these cases.”
While responding to various people who sent her negative messages, Sonmez also posted a screenshot identifying the people who sent those messages.
That sparked an internal Washington Post investigation and her being placed on leave.
“National political reporter Felicia Sonmez was placed on administrative leave while The Post reviews whether tweets about the death of Kobe Bryant violated The Post newsroom’s social media policy,” Washington Post managing editor Tracy Grant said.
“The tweets displayed poor judgment that undermined the work of her colleagues,” she added.
It remains to be seen what punishment, if any, the Washington Post opts to hand down to Sonmez beyond this initial suspension.