I don’t normally write about stories like this, but when the schadenfreude is this alluring, I simply cannot pass up the opportunity. I am only a conservative commentator, after all. If Democracy Dies in Darkness, then former Washington Post columnist Felicia Sonmez’s career just died in wokeness.
EXCLUSIVE: The @washingtonpost has parted ways with national political reporter @feliciasonmez, capping a week of fighting that stoked conversations over newsroom inequity and social media use and pitted reporters against each other.https://t.co/HhEFypSBlt
— Corbin Bolies (@CorbinBolies) June 9, 2022
You might remember Sonmez from such hits as “Let’s Bring Up Kobe Bryant’s Rape Charges Right After He Dies in a Helicopter Crash.” She was the reporter who stoked controversy at the Washington Post after she took issue with one of her colleagues retweeting a harmless joke about women. The drama arose when political reporter Dave Weigel retweeted a post which read: “Every girl is bi. You just have to figure out if it’s polar or sexual.”
Every girl is bi. You just have to figure out if it’s polar or sexual.
— Cam Harless (@hamcarless) June 2, 2022
Sonmez took this as an opportunity to call out her colleague instead of, you know, approaching him directly like an adult. She tweeted a screenshot of the joke showing Weigel had retweeted it: “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
Weigel later broke rule number one of dealing with cancel culture and apologized to the mob. Sonmez and all of the others who were offended by the joke accepted his apology, forgave Weigel, and chose to move on like mature adults since he clearly didn’t mean any harm.
You don’t even need to read about the story to know what happened next, right?
The Post suspended Weigel without pay on Monday.
What followed was a delicious bout of infighting at one of the most well-known activist media outlets in America’s history. Reporter Jose Del Real criticized Sonmez for her overreaction to Weigel’s retweet. “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,” he wrote in a now-deleted tweet responding to Sonmez, who shot back, “[o]bjecting to sexism is not ‘clout chasing.’ It’s not ‘harassment.’ And it’s certainly not ‘cruelty.’”
Executive editor Sally Buzbee also jumped into the fracas, issuing a memo admonishing employees to be nice to one another. “We expect the staff to treat each other with respect and kindness both in the newsroom and online,” she wrote in a document obtained by the Daily Beast. “We are a collegial and creative newsroom doing an astonishing amount of important and groundbreaking journalism.”
But that didn’t stop the fighting. Several other WaPo employees rallied to defend their employer, some taking shots at Sonmez, who also lost a discrimination lawsuit she filed against the Post. She later struck back, pointing out that the reporters taking issue with her “are all white” and “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.”
Others brought up another example of Sonmez causing trouble at the WaPo’s workplace. In a tweet, CNN media activist Oliver Darcy brought up an email Sonmez wrote in response to a memo that had gone out urging employees to “take time to assess how you are doing,” and to “seek help if you need to talk to someone” in the aftermath of the white supremacist terrorist attack in Buffalo, New York, and the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Sonmez responded last Thursday by hitting “reply all” and sending an email obtained by Vanity Fair which read “Just a reminder that I was punished after I told an editor that I had to take a walk around the block after reading a difficult story.”
Now, it appears Washington Post has said “bye Felicia” and is moving on from the affair. But given her history, it is quite amazing the outlet tolerated her antics for this long. Nevertheless, this was the last straw and Sonmez will have to find a new job – but probably not before she maligns the company as racist, sexist, and other ways to say “bigoted.” It appears that even WaPo has a limit for how much wokeness it is willing to put up with.
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