January 27, 2020

TWEETED IN HASTE, REPENTED AT LEISURE: Washington Post Reporter Felicia Sonmez Suspended Following Kobe Bryant Tweet Backlash.

The suspension, first reported by the British online tabloid Daily Mail UK, drew cheers and condemnation alike from various corners of the Internet, with some applauding the Post’s decision to suspend a reporter willing to generate a viral sensation around herself in the face of a tragedy and others coming to Sonmez’s defense by painting her action as nothing more than a journalist tweeting a mere story.

But a person familiar with the suspension said it was not Sonmez’s tweet linking to the Daily Beast article that triggered the suspension, nor was it two follow-up tweets where she said the thousands who criticized her in the hours since was an “eye opening experience.” It was the third tweet that showed her email inbox that landed her in hot water with the company, in part because it contained the purported full names of those who sent her an email, according to a Washington Post employee who spoke with The Desk on condition of anonymity.

“Her managers don’t care about the Daily Beast tweet,” the Post employee said. “But there’s a concern that the screen shot (of her email inbox) might create some legal issues and could violate Twitter’s terms (of service).”

And the Washington Post’s union is not happy! Washington Post Union Blasts Paper for Suspending Reporter Over Kobe Bryant Tweets.

As Stephen Miller tweets, “(whispers) This isn’t about Twitter harassment. It’s about her tweets hurting circulation in the 2nd largest city in the country by population,” adding, “Screaming RAPIST for everyone to see in the city of Los Angeles, while the wreckage is still burning is how you lose thousands of subscribers in that city.”

UPDATE: Christina Hoff Sommers asks “Where was the upstanding  [Post Guild] when Felicia Sonmez tried to get Caitlin Flanagan and Emily Yoffe fired for daring to criticize her?”

As Sommers notes at the above link, the paragraphs quoted below were expunged from a New York Times profile today on Sonmez. However, they’re still present in a version published by the Austin Statesman headlined, “Washington Post suspends a reporter after her tweets on Kobe Bryant:”

The journalist Emily Yoffe wrote an article last year on the accusations against Mr. Kaiman and their repercussions for Reason, a magazine published by the Reason Foundation, a libertarian think tank. The article was sympathetic to his plight and concluded, “When an accusation is lodged, we must respond with fairness, not frenzy.” Ms. Sonmez criticized the article for what she described as its omissions and “basic” factual errors. Reason updated the article and appended a note at the end of it to address what it called “three minor matters of fact.”

After Caitlin Flanagan, a writer for The Atlantic, said she was skeptical of Ms. Sonmez and her allegations against Mr. Kaiman during an interview on NPR, Ms. Sonmez pushed back publicly, likening her comments to those from “internet trolls.”

More from Bethany Mandel at Ricochet in a post headlined, “Live by the Mob, Etc. etc.”

(Updated and bumped.)

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