Felicia Sonmez breaks Twitter silence, says she and Washington Post Guild are ‘fighting’ to get her job back

Jeanne A. Curley

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Felicia Sonmez, the fired Washington Post reporter who went on a viral rampage against her employer and her colleagues, broke her Twitter silence and revealed that she is “fighting” to get her job back. 

Sonmez had gone radio silent ever since she was terminated last month for insubordination after she continued attacking other Post reporters online despite multiple memos issued by her boss Sally Buzbee calling for civility. 

On Friday, she provided an update, telling her Twitter followers she has been “doing okay” and shared a photo of her cat.

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“Oh, and @PostGuild and I are fighting for my job back,” Sonmez wrote. “It’s an internal process and will likely be a long slog, but I will share any (eventual) updates here. Deepest thanks again to all who have sent love and support. It means so much.”

A spokesperson for the Washington Post declined to comment. 

The drama began when Sonmez went after fellow Washington Post reporter Dave Weigel for retweeting a joke critics deemed sexist while also putting the paper on blast. 

“Fantastic to work at a news outlet where retweets like this are allowed!” Sonmez reacted. 

Weigel was placed on a one-month unpaid suspension despite having removed the retweet and issuing an apology. 

However, Sonmez’s tweetstorms berating her co-worker continued and began receiving public pushback from at least two colleagues, reporters Jose A. Del Real and Lisa Rein, who Sonmez then attacked. 

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After Buzbee urged staff to be respectful to one another, several prominent reporters from The Post expressed solidarity with the paper, all of whom were mocked by Sonmez. 

Following six days of constant viral warfare towards colleagues and the Post, Sonmez was terminated.

Her silence on Twitter previously fueled speculation among critics that she may revive her discrimination lawsuit against The Post after it was previously tossed out of court. 

Felicia Sonmez was fired by the Washington Post following a series of viral attacks towards her colleagues.

Felicia Sonmez was fired by the Washington Post following a series of viral attacks towards her colleagues.
(Getty Images)

The Washington Post unveiled its updated social media policy to staff Thursday after the viral turmoil the paper faced. 

“A Post journalist’s use of social media must not harm the editorial integrity or journalistic reputation of The Post,” the memo obtained by Fox News read, “Your association with The Post gives you a large platform and may bring you a blue checkmark and added followers. Along with that comes our collective responsibility to protect that integrity and reputation. This guidance applies to content you post or amplify – such as in a retweet, like or share – on any digital platform.”

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The second guidance stressed Post journalists “should ensure that their activity on social media platforms would not make reasonable people question their editorial independence, nor make reasonable people question The Post’s ability to cover issues fairly.”

Washington Post reporter Dave Weigel was suspended after he retweeted someone else's joke that mocked women

Washington Post reporter Dave Weigel was suspended after he retweeted someone else’s joke that mocked women
(Eric McCandless via Getty Images)

The memo stressed it is “not appropriate” to use social media to “advocate for causes issues, governmental policies or political or judicial outcomes.” The guidance also urged journalists to “avoid curating” content “that suggest you have a partisan point of view on an issue The Post covers,” noting that columnists and critics are exempted. 

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“Before you publish a post on social media, ask yourself if it compromises our newsroom’s mission to prioritize fact-finding,” the third guidance pleaded. “Ask yourself if it would be harmful for your message to be associated with The Post. Ask yourself if the words or images you are using – especially if your message includes offensive content – will undermine The Post’s journalistic reputation for reporting the news fairly, accurately and without bias. If the answer to any of these is yes, don’t post.”

The fourth guidance, which called for Post journalists to be “civil” and “treat people with respect,” echoed the memos previously issued by Buzbee during Sonmez’s Twitter bloodbath. 

The Washington Post issued a lengthy editor’s note the 2018 Amber Heard op-ed at the center of Johnny Depp’s defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife.

The Washington Post issued a lengthy editor’s note the 2018 Amber Heard op-ed at the center of Johnny Depp’s defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife.
(ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images)

The Post warned employees they cannot “publicly reveal internal discussions or communications concerning editorial issues such as coverage plans, reporting of stories, and decisions to publish or not to publish.”

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Other guidance listed included staff not using their association with The Post for “personal benefit or private gain,” the protection of journalists from harassment being made a “top priority” and that “standards editors and deputy managing editor for news operations are responsible, in concert with newsroom leadership, for ensuring these guidelines are followed.”

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