A Washington Post reporter who tweeted about past rape accusations concerning Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant after his death on Sunday has been suspended by the newspaper.
Reporter Felicia Sonmez had tweeted a link to a 2016 Daily Beast story about the 2003 allegations. She later deleted the tweet.
“National political reporter Felicia Sonmez was placed on administrative leave while The Post reviews whether tweets about the death of Kobe Bryant violated The Post newsroom’s social media policy,” Washington Post managing editor Tracy Grant said in a statement, according to The Wrap.
“The tweets displayed poor judgment that undermined the work of her colleagues,” Grant said.
On Twitter, some speculated that Sonmez was suspended for showing the contents of her inbox in one tweet, which would have displayed the names of those communicating with her.
Reports say Sonmez was not suspended by the Washington Post for her initial tweet about Kobe Bryant, but for a follow up tweet that contained a screenshot of her inbox which included the names of senders. https://t.co/X4Be2s1XSu
— Alex Salvi (@alexsalvinews) January 27, 2020
Sonmez tweeted a link to the article with no caption.
After Twitter had a meltdown over her tweet, she followed up with her thoughts.
“Well, THAT was eye-opening. To the 10,000 people (literally) who have commented and emailed me with abuse and death threats, please take a moment and read the story –which was written 3+ years ago, and not by me.
“Any public figure is worth remembering in their totality even if that public figure is beloved and that totality is unsettling. That folks are responding with rage & threats toward me (someone who didn’t even write the piece but found it well-reported) speaks volumes about the pressure people come under to stay silent in these cases,” she wrote.
In another since-deleted tweet, she wrote, “As an addendum: Hard to see what’s accomplished by messages such as these. If your response to a news article is to resort to harassment and intimidation of journalists, you might want to consider that your behavior says more about you than the person you’re targeting,” according to Business Insider.
My guess is Felicia won’t mind since people are forever marked by their worst mistake. https://t.co/Pew8jwnN0D
— Matthew Keys (@MatthewKeysLive) January 26, 2020
Twitter was merciless in attacking Sonmez, while others rose to her defense.
Felicia Sonmez should be fired. To tweet something like that just hours after him and his daughter passed is disgusting. She is a horrible human being for doing something like that. #FireFeliciaSonmez
— Dustin Driscoll (@DJLaker54) January 27, 2020
Truly appalling that Felicia Sonmez received death threats in response to this. You need to adjust your moral compass if you’re more enraged about somebody failing to worship at the cult of celebrity than you are about rape. #KobeBryant https://t.co/34H3OtjPjo
— lafabfemmefeline ✋🌹 (@lafabfeline) January 27, 2020
Woman who claims to be a feminist digs knife into 3 little girls, a newly bereaved mother/wife and a dead person who can’t defend themselves. Is hugely surprised at response. Gets suspended from job. No doubt is outraged and managing to see herself as a victim. #sonmez
— Lief (@LondonQuickNote) January 27, 2020
@washingtonpost You need to fire Felicia Sonmez asap! Her tweets about Kobe Bryant after he & other victims died in a tragic helicopter crash are beyond insensitive. They are cold hearted & show no respect for his family/friends. Parents & children died today for Christ sake!
— Mark Ringo (@MarkRingo12) January 26, 2020
— Snailin It (@Snailgoop) January 27, 2020
Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were among those killed when a helicopter in which they were passengers crashed Sunday afternoon.
In the 2003 case Sonmez cited, Bryant was charged with sexual assault and false imprisonment. A civil lawsuit was also filed, which was later settled. The case was never tried.
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