Washington Post Suspends Reporter One Month for ‘Reprehensible’ Retweet 

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The Washington Post suspended reporter Dave Weigel for one month without pay over a “reprehensible” retweet, according to reports.

Weigel’s work email reportedly auto-responds to incoming emails with the following message: “I am out of the office and will return on July 5.”

Weigel’s suspension comes just a few days after fellow Washington Post reporter Felicia Sonmez reprimanded him on Twitter over a tweet he retweeted.

On Friday, Weigel shared a tweet sent out by YouTube host Cam Harless that joked, “Every girl is bi. You just have to figure out if it’s polar or sexual.” Sonmez posted a screenshot of Weigel’s retweet with the caption, “Fantastic to work at a news outlet where retweets like this are allowed!”

Sonmez reportedly questioned Weigel about the tweet in a company Slack channel, asking him, “I’m sorry but what is this?” She added that his retweet sent “a confusing message about what the Post’s values are.”

Although Weigel publicly apologized, his efforts were not enough to please his bosses. “I just removed a retweet of an offensive joke. I apologize and did not mean to cause any harm,” Weigel said.

Washington Post chief spokesman Kris Coratti told the press, “editors have made clear to the staff that the tweet was reprehensible and demeaning language or actions like that will not be tolerated.”

Weigel’s tweet also caused a rift between Washington Post reporters. One reporter, Jose A. Del Real, critiqued Sonmez for publicly shaming their college.

Del Real told Sonmez:

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.

Dave’s retweet is terrible and unacceptable. But rallying the internet to attack him for a mistake he made doesn’t actually solve anything. We all mess up in some way or another. There is such a thing as challenging with compassion.

However, Sonmez doubled down on her decision to call Weigel out online, telling Del Real, “Jose, Dave’s retweet was indeed terrible and unacceptable. It was also public, and it’s important that all those who saw Dave’s tweet also see Washington Post reporters standing up for our newspaper’s values — one of which is that comments denigrating women will not be tolerated.”

The spat between Sonmez and Del Real resulted in Del Real temporarily deactivating his Twitter account and blocking Sonmez from viewing his tweets.

The online drama prompted Washington Post executive editor Sally Buzbee to send an internal staff memo telling the reporters “to treat each other with respect and kindness both in the newsroom and online.”

“The Washington Post is committed to an inclusive and respectful environment free of harassment, discrimination or bias of any sort. When issues arise, please raise them with leadership or human resources and we will address them promptly and firmly,” Buzbee’s memo added.


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