The Washington Post newsroom erupted when a reporter was suspended after she tweeted about Kobe Bryant’s old rape case — just hours after he and his daughter were killed in a helicopter crash.
Fellow reporters reportedly revolted against management, Vanity Fair reports, when fellow journalist Felicia Sonmez was “placed on administrative leave” for tweeting a 2016 Daily Beast story about the rape case from more than a decade earlier.
“Any public figure is worth remembering in their totality,” Somnez posted on Twitter, adding “even if that public figure is beloved and that totality unsettling.”
Somnez’s inbox was almost immediately flooded with hundreds of profanity-laced responses and death threats for having the intestinal fortitude to mention the infamous Colorado rape case just after Bryant perished in a fiery crash on Sunday, Jan. 26.
However, Somnez’s temporary banishment from the Washington Post has incited widespread anger, both inside and outside their newsroom. Fellow Post reporters are incensed.
“There’s incredible outrage. The outrage is like nothing I’ve ever seen here,” one Post source told Vanity Fair. “People just feel like it was way over the top.”
The Post has a policy against criticizing colleagues, which I fear they'd argue I violated if I tweeted the headline to this @ErikWemple piece. (I've asked, haven't heard back). In the meantime, you should read it https://t.co/zq1scVzNKZ
— Wesley (@WesleyLowery) January 27, 2020
Many reporters, as Vanity Fair and Poynter.org report, believe the punishment is out of proportion to Sumnez’s imprudence. While some believe, as Poynter points out, that the posting of Bryant’s rape case was in “bad taste” and represented questionable “timing,” most of Somnez’s colleagues don’t believe it warranted a suspension.
The Washington Post Guild exemplified “alarm and dismay” and implored the paper “to take immediate steps to ensure the safety of our colleague” and let Somnez return to work.
The Washington Post has yet to respond to media inquiries, according to Vanity Fair.