Felicia Sonmez terminated by The Washington Submit after Twitter dispute


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Felicia Sonmez, a nationwide workers reporter for The Washington Submit whose criticism of her colleagues and the newspaper on social media in latest days drew consideration, was fired by the paper on Thursday, in keeping with a termination letter.

Kris Coratti Kelly, a spokeswoman for the Submit, declined to remark, saying, “We do not focus on personnel issues.” Government editor Sally Buzbee additionally declined to touch upon the termination, which was first reported by the Every day Beast.

Reached by cellphone, Sonmez mentioned: “I’ve no remark right now.”

Sonmez, who labored for The Submit from 2010 to 2013 earlier than rejoining the paper in 2018, was scheduled to play a key position Thursday evening reporting on the Home choose committee’s televised listening to on the Jan. 6 assault. 2021 to the US Capitol, in keeping with a Submit editor concerned within the protection.

However in a Thursday afternoon firing letter first reported by the New York Instances and seen by a Submit reporter, The Submit advised Sonmez that she was fired “for misconduct that features insubordination, defaming co-workers, on-line work and violating The Submit’s requirements for companionship within the office.” and inclusion”.

Sonmez used his Twitter account on Friday to name consideration to a colleague, David Weigel, for retweeting a sexist joke.

“Unbelievable to work in a media outlet the place retweets like this are allowed!” Sonmez tweeted in response.

He additionally complained about Weigel’s retweet on an inner message board.

Weigel apologized for the retweet and eliminated it from his account. The Submit subsequently suspended him with out pay for a month for violating his social media insurance policies. (The Submit didn’t verify Weigel’s suspension, citing the privateness utilized to personnel selections.) Within the days that adopted, Sonmez continued to make use of his Twitter account to concentrate on the incident, retweeting criticism of Weigel and claiming that Submit administration applies social media insurance policies erratically. .

Over the weekend, José A. Del Actual, one other Submit reporter, requested Sonmez to cease criticizing, tweeting: “Felicia, all of us make errors sometimes. Partaking in repeated, focused public harassment of a colleague is neither beauty nor notably efficient. It turns the language of inclusion into lobbying and intimidation.”

Submit editor Buzbee warns workers about conflicts on Twitter: ‘Be constructive and collegial’

Del Actual later tweeted that his back-and-forth with Sonmez sparked a “flurry of on-line abuse led by one individual however carried out by an keen crowd.”

Sonmez then posted screenshots of Del Actual’s tweets and wrote, “It is exhausting for me to know why The Washington Submit hasn’t accomplished something about these tweets.”

Because of the dispute, Buzbee on Tuesday took the extraordinary step of warning workers in an e mail in opposition to “attacking colleagues, whether or not face-to-face or on-line.”

“Respect for others is key to any civil society, together with our newsroom,” Buzbee wrote, referring to The Submit’s social media coverage, which requires workers to be “constructive and collegial.” Buzbee additionally directed workers to contact co-workers straight to boost issues.

On Thursday morning, in a Twitter thread criticizing The Submit’s newsroom tradition, Sonmez commented on a gaggle of political reporters who had tweeted glowing issues in regards to the firm. “They’re among the many ‘stars’ who ‘get away with it’ on social media,” she wrote.

Sonmez also tweeted: “I care deeply about my colleagues and wish this establishment to help all workers. Proper now, The Submit is a spot the place many people worry our trauma will likely be used in opposition to us, based mostly on the corporate’s previous actions.”

In July 2021, Sonmez filed a lawsuit in opposition to the newspaper and several other present and former high editors, alleging that she had been discriminated in opposition to and retaliated in opposition to when editors twice banned her from protecting tales associated to sexual misconduct after she spoke publicly about being a sufferer of sexual misconduct. sexual abuse. assault.

Her grievance centered partly on her declare that editors had unfairly reprimanded her for tweets about sexual misconduct. DC Superior Courtroom Decide Anthony C. Epstein dismissed her lawsuit in March, ruling that Sonmez had failed to indicate that The Submit confirmed a “discriminatory motive” in its actions towards her.

Sonmez was briefly positioned on administrative depart in January 2020 after tweeting within the hours after NBA star Kobe Bryant’s demise in regards to the later dropped prison rape costs he had confronted years earlier. The Washington Submit Guild, the union that represents Submit workers, issued a press release on the time expressing “alarm and dismay” on the choice.

On Thursday evening, the Guild declined to touch upon Sonmez’s firing or some other personnel points, past saying it represents and helps “all members dealing with disciplinary motion.”

“The mission of the Washington Submit Guild is to make sure equal therapy and safety for all workers and to encourage members of their struggle to create a good and inclusive office the place staff can thrive,” the assertion mentioned.





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