News & Politics

Washington Post Clears Suspended Reporter

Photograph by Evy Mages

The Washington Post has cleared reporter Felicia Sonmez, saying an internal review concluded the reporter “was not in clear and direct violation of our social media policy.”

The Post suspended Sonmez after she tweeted a story about Kobe Bryant’s sexual assault allegations following his death. Erik Wemple, an opinion writer for the Post who covers the news media, called the suspension “misguided” and pointed out that the paper’s explanations to Sonmez didn’t make much sense: She was told her tweets weren’t germane to her coverage area as well as that they made it harder for her colleagues to do their jobs. Judging by the more than a dozen non-Sonmez-related Bryant clips (of which there were two) on the Post‘s website this afternoon, the institution seems to have soldiered through.

The new statement from managing editor for staff development and standards Tracy Grant calls Sonmez’s tweets “ill-timed” and expresses regret that the Post spoke “publicly about a personnel matter.” Hundreds of Sonmez’s colleagues have signed a statement from the Washington Post Newspaper Guild expressing “alarm and dismay” about Sonmez’s suspension.

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Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.

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