Felicia Sonmez, who publicly attacked fellow reporter Dave Weigel on Twitter last week and then reportedly continued her onslaught in the newsroom’s internal Slack messaging system, was canned Thursday, The Daily Beast reported. Her termination letter cited “insubordination, maligning your co-workers online and violating The Post’s standards on workplace collegiality and inclusivity,” according to The New York Times.
The Harvard-educated reporter, who covered breaking political news on the paper’s national desk, did not respond to requests for comment.
The firing was the latest twist in a newsroom saga that began with a joke.
“Every girl is bi,” went the joke from YouTuber Cam Harless that Weigel retweeted Friday. “You just have to figure out if it’s polar or sexual.”
We all owe a debt of gratitude to Felicia Sonmez for exposing the insane woke pandering of the WaPo management. And we can all only hope that the NYT picks you up as soon as possible, so you can do the same over there.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) June 9, 2022
Sonmez responded with a tweet that faulted both Weigel and the Post.
“Fantastic to work at a news outlet where retweets like this are allowed!” she wrote.
The response touched off a week of newsroom drama that had many siding with Weigel but nonetheless got him suspended without pay for a full month. Several colleagues reportedly scolded Sonmez for not keeping the issue in-house, and fellow reporter Jose Del Real publicly accused Sonmez of “repeated and targeted public harassment of a colleague.”
CNN obtained Slack messages that showed Sonmez tagging Weigel and writing, “I’m sorry but what is this?” She reiterated her initial complaint, saying Weigel’s retweet sent “a confusing message about what the Post’s values are.”
A contrite Weigel removed the retweet.
“I apologize and did not mean to cause any harm,” he wrote.
Executive Editor Sally Buzbee issued a memo on Sunday trying to calm the waters, but things boiled over when video journalist Breanna Muir reportedly replied-all to the memo with support for Sonmez and the claim that the newsroom has a “toxic work environment.”
Earlier this week, the newspaper suspended Weigel, according to CNN.
“Editors have made clear to the staff that the tweet was reprehensible and demeaning language or actions like that will not be tolerated,” spokesperson Kris Coratti told Fox News.
The drama came as The Washington Post faces criticism for various editorial missteps.
For one, the outlet was recently forced to issue corrections to an article by Taylor Lorenz that originally claimed she had reached out to two YouTubers, Mazeika and ThatUmbrellaGuy, mentioned in her piece. Both individuals said that Lorenz never contacted them ahead of the story’s publication, and the claim was then removed without a correction. When Fox News asked if Lorenz herself quietly made the edit, a Washington Post spokesperson said, “That’s not something we’d discuss on the record.”
In the same article, Lorenz wrongly attributed a statement to Johnny Depp lawyer Adam Waldman. A note on the article said that the story was indeed “updated to clarify comments made during Waldman’s testimony.”
Two months ago, Lorenz came under fire for revealing the identity of the woman behind Libs of TikTok, which reposts leftist content on its various social media pages. Lorenz ran a hit piece on the woman — which included her name and originally linked to personal work information, though the link was subsequently removed from the article. Several people made death threats to the woman — a Jewish stay-at-home mother — in the wake of the doxxing.
Libs of TikTok posted photos of the Washington Post reporter visiting her family members’ homes. Lorenz accuses Libs of TikTok of purportedly having “deep and far-reaching” impact, as well as “shaping right-wing media, impacting anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and influencing millions by posting viral videos aimed at inciting outrage among the right.”
Daily Wire Co-CEO Jeremy Boreing joined podcaster and commentator Tim Pool in purchasing a billboard in Times Square criticizing Lorenz and her employer for exposing Libs of TikTok. “Hey WaPo, Democracy Dies In Darkness,” the billboard said. “That’s Why We’re Shining A Light On You. Taylor Lorenz Doxxed @LibsOfTikTok.”
After Lorenz complained about the billboard, Fox News host Tucker Carlson said: “So she exposes the Libs of TikTok owner to violence. But when you say her name, you’re a terrorist.”