Bye, Felicia: Washington Post Fires Reporter Felicia Sonmez After Week of Infighting

FILE - In this Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019, file photo, people walk by the One Franklin Square
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File, Felicia Sonmez/Twitter

The Washington Post fired its political reporter Felicia Sonmez on Thursday after she publicly criticized the paper and her colleagues for nearly one week straight.

Sonmez started internal drama at the company when she called out fellow reporter Dave Weigel on Twitter for retweeting an alleged sexist tweet last week.

Weigel retweeted a tweet that joked, “Every girl is bi. You just have to figure out if it’s polar or sexual.” Sonmez shared a screenshot of Weigel’s retweet and said, “Fantastic to work at a news outlet where retweets like this are allowed!”

On Monday, the Post suspended Weigel for one month without pay over his retweet, despite his public apology.

Sonmez’s feud with Weigel was not the only fight with one of her colleagues. Washington Post reporter Jose A. Del Real criticized Sonmez for publicly lambasting one of their colleagues.

“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,” Del Real told Sonmez. Ultimately, Sonmez doubled down on her decision to call out Weigel, adding that it was “important that all those who saw Dave’s tweet also see Washington Post reporters standing up for our newspaper’s value.”

After the feud, Del Real temporarily deactivated his Twitter account. When he rejoined the platform, he blocked Sonmez from viewing his tweets.

Sonmez’s drama with her colleagues 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.”

Sonmez did not heed Buzbee’s internal memo as she continued a lengthy Twitter tirade about Del Real on Tuesday. After Sonmez’s Twitter thread on Tuesday, longtime Post reporter Lisa Rein interjected and told Sonmez to “please stop.”

Buzbee reportedly sent another internal memo to staff on Tuesday, saying, “We do not tolerate colleagues attacking colleagues either face to face or online.”

On the day before the Washington Post fired Sonmez, the paper’s chief spokesman Kris Coratti told CNN the infighting “is being addressed directly with the individuals involved.”

On the day she was let go, Sonmez went on a lengthy Twitter rant complaining about the Post’s “longstanding and serious problem” of punishing employees “for their trauma.”

She also criticized her “white” employees for “disparaging” her in the media.

“I don’t know who the colleagues anonymously disparaging me in media reports are. But I do know that the reporters who issued synchronized tweets this week downplaying the Post’s workplace issues have a few things in common with each other,” Sonmez tweeted.

“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,” she continued.

Sonmez sued her former employer for discrimination in 2021, but a D.C. judge dismissed the lawsuit this year because she failed to show a “discriminatory motive.”


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