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Washington Post reporter Felicia Sonmez continued to complain about her colleagues on Sunday morning after a retweet engulfed the newsroom in controversy on Friday.
Sonmez shared screenshots from what she described as public attacks against her by fellow Washington Post reporter Jose A. Del Real.
“When women stand up for themselves, some people respond with even more vitriol. Last night, a Post colleague publicly attacked me for calling out another colleague’s sexist tweet. He first hid any replies objecting to his attacks, and now seems to have deleted his account, “Sonmez tweeted.
Sonmez was referring to Del Real’s tweet, where he criticized her for airing her grievances with colleagues in public.
“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 do not think this is appropriate, “Del Real tweeted.
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The turmoil at the Washington Post began when reporter David Weigel retweeted a joke that mocked women
“Fantastic to work at a news outlet where retweets like this are allowed!” Sonmez reacted.
Weigel undid his retweet and issued an apology on his account.
Washington Post executive editor Sally Buzbee sent out a memo via email that called on the staff and colleagues to treat each other with respect and kindness.
“We expect the staff to treat each other with respect and kindness both in the newsroom and online. We are a collegial and creative newsroom doing an astonishing amount of important and groundbreaking journalism. One of the great strengths of our newsroom is our collaborative spirit, Buzbee wrote.
While the memo did not reference any reporter by name, Buzbee also added, “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. “
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Del Real initially deleted the tweets as well as his account before returning to Twitter Sunday afternoon with a thread explaining the situation.
“Last night I came under an unrelenting series of attacks intended to tarnish my professional and personal reputation. The cause? Some tweets I sent calling for compassion within our workplace. Those attacks continued this morning,” Del Real began.
“In hopes of de-escalating, I temporarily deactivated my account, amid a barrage of online abuse directed by one person but carried out by an eager mob. The one-sided attacks continued even after I stopped engaging. I know the old adage: “Hurt people hurt people. But what then?” he wrote.
Del Real called on everyone to simply move on from the controversy and insisted that the Washington Post is dedicated to “dismantling systems of sexism, racism, and homophobia.”
“I’ll end where I began: Let’s be kinder to each other. I really believe empathy is a necessary tool in this effort to improve our workplaces and our culture. We can all be better. I certainly will continue trying to be,” Del Real concluded.
Sonmez continued to vent her frustration on Twitter by tagging Buzbee and national editor Matea Gold.
“Objecting to sexism is not ‘clout chasing.’ It’s not ‘harassment.’ And it’s certainly not ‘cruelty.’ Does the Washington Post agree? @SallyBuzbee @mateagold Here is a personal thread I wrote last night about why speaking out matters to me and other women, “she tweeted.
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Sonmez has frequently criticized her fellow colleagues as well as her employer on Twitter.
Most notably, Sonmez sued the Washington Post in July 2021 over allegations of discrimination for allegedly limiting her coverage of the #MeToo movement and the allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh after publicly disclosing her sexual trauma in 2018. A Washington DC court dismissed the case in March.