WaPo fires sniping reporter Felica Sonmez – via email: ‘We cannot allow you to continue to work’

Now former Washington Post reporter Felicia Sonmez is out after pushing the envelope again and again with her sniping at the newspaper and fellow colleagues.

The Post fired Sonmez on Thursday for her antics this week, all of which began when Post political reporter Dave Weigel retweeted a harmless joke about women. Sonmez, who sued the paper for discrimination in 2021 — the case was reportedly dismissed recently — responded thusly, “Fantastic to work at a news outlet where retweets like this are allowed!”

And while the Post caved and suspended Weigle for a month without pay and he publicly apologized, Sonmez could not leave the issue alone, tweeting about inequity in the newsroom, getting into it with her colleagues online, and even criticizing the Post leadership, including Executive Editor Sally Buzbee.

On Thursday, she was fired — via email.

“This is to inform you that The Post is terminating your employment, effective immediately, for misconduct that includes insubordination, maligning your coworkers online and violating The Post’s standards on workplace collegiality and inclusivity,” the email read.

“As Sally’s Tuesday message reminded everyone, The Post expects all employees to adhere to its standards requiring employees to treat each other respectfully, inclusively, and professionally,” the email continued. “Your continued conduct in disparaging your colleagues online disregarded the direction of newsroom leadership and violated The Post’s standards. Your public attempts to question the motives of your co-journalists, based on their expression of views different from yours, also undermines The Post’s reputation for journalistic integrity and fairness. The same is true of your baseless derision directed to our policies and practices, and our commitment to a safe and supportive work environment.

“We cannot allow you to continue to work as a journalist representing The Washington Post.”

Adding insult to injury, the newspaper would not even allow Sonmez to step foot back on the property to clear out her personal effects or return newspaper property.

“In the event that you have left any personal items on the premises, we will make arrangements to return them and for you to return any other Post equipment you have in your possession,” the message concluded.

The Washington Post Guild issued a statement saying that employees should be disciplined with “just cause,” but did not comment on Sonmez’s termination.

“The Washington Post Guild’s mission is to ensure equal treatment and protection for all employees and uplift members as they fight to create a just and inclusive workplace in which workers can thrive,” the Guild said. “Unit leadership is committed to ensuring that our contract is respected and workers are only disciplined with just cause. We represent and provide support to all members facing discipline. We do not comment on individual personnel issues.”

An example of the barbs Sonmez was firing can be seen on a tweet on Tuesday: “Post employees have been pleading with management *for years* to take action to live up to their words when it comes to inclusivity, fairness and protecting their staff. The only thing that seems to actually bring about change is when the frustrations boil over into public view.”

In an exhaustive thread posted earlier in the day Thursday, Sonmez suggested that The Post was only a good workplace for certain people: “They are all white. They are 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. They are among the ‘stars’ who ‘get away with murder’ on social media.”

The joke that set Sonmez off on a schizophrenic tear can be seen here: “Every girl is bi. You just have to figure out if it’s polar or sexual.”

And here are but a few of the responses to the story from Twitter:


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