Washington Post Reporter Suspended For Kobe Bryant Tweets Speaks Out


By Nick Visser
HuffPost (1/28/20)

The Washington Post reporter who was suspended after tweeting a story about the 2003 rape allegation against basketball star Kobe Bryant on the day he died called on the newspaper’s executive editor to speak directly about the decision to punish her and explain how the paper planned to protect employees’ safety going forward.

Felicia Sonmez, who was placed on administrative leave for the tweet and reprimanded for “hurting” the Post as an institution, said in a statement Tuesday that she wanted answers after the newspaper lifted her suspension following a media outcry. Sonmez initially said about 10,000 people had commented or emailed her “abuse and death threats” after she shared a link to a story without comment about the 2003 allegations against Bryant. Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter were among nine people killed Sunday in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.

When she reported the abuse to her editors, including Executive Editor Martin Baron and Managing Editor Tracy Grant, she was told to take the tweets down before being placed on paid leave.

“I believe that Washington Post readers and employees, including myself, deserve to hear directly from Marty Baron on the newspaper’s handling of this matter,” Sonmez said. “Washington Post journalists endeavor to live up to the paper’s mission statement, which states, ‘The newspaper shall tell ALL the truth so far as it can learn it, concerning the important affairs of America and the world.’”

She added that Baron’s emails to her had only “sown confusion about the depth of management’s commitment to this goal.” …

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