Felicia Sonmez Koby Bryant rape tweet: Washington Post journalist widely condemned on social media following controversial tweet & then suspended by her employer.
Define inappropriate? Journalistic integrity? Opportune timing? Feeding off a carcass….?
A Washington Post journalist has been suspended by the newspaper after she tweeted a link on Sunday to a 2016 report about the Kobe Bryant rape case just hours after the basketball great and his daughter were killed in a helicopter crash.
Felicia Sonmez, who covers national politics for the Post, took to Twitter shortly after the world learned of Bryant’s death along with eight others aboard his private helicopter which crashed outside of Los Angeles.
She posted a link to a Daily Beast April 2016 report, headlined: ‘Kobe Bryant’s Disturbing Rape Case: The DNA Evidence, the Accuser’s Story, and the Half-Confession.’
The tweet which was posted as many across the US were grieving the basketball legend’s tragic death seemingly unnerved social media commentators who expressed disconcert with the ‘journalist’s’ timing.
The post led to Sonmez receiving death threats.
Define eye opening?
Posted Sonmez, ‘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 unsettling.’
Sonmez continued: ‘That folks are responding with rage and 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.’
But did it really have to matter by whom the piece was written by and perhaps by whom (a reporter for one of the largest media establishments in the country) – immediately after the player’s fiery death along with eight others. Wasn’t this just Sonmez trying in an unpalatable way to get her spin in long running accusations of sexual assault against the player- who could no longer defend himself and his legacy?
Hard to understand what’s achieved referencing age old posts that bear little news except to one’s agenda:
In another follow-up tweet, Sonmez 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.’
Again- was Sonmez playing dumb and seriously trying to make us believe she was doing serious journalism? Or had she sought to use a tragedy to mark her turf?
Receiving an overwhelming torrent of backlash (do you suppose ….?) Sonmez deleted her initial tweets while other Twitter users screengrabbed the posts and responded with disgust.
— Today in Mavs Facebook (@Mavs_Facebook) January 27, 2020
Attention seeking victim claiming journalism: fake news …
The reaction on Twitter from Bryant fans was so severe that the hashtag #FireFeliciaSonmez was trending.
Told Tracy Grant, managing editor of The Washington Post via the dailymail: ‘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.
‘The tweets displayed poor judgment that undermined the work of her colleagues.’
On Twitter, reaction to Sonmez’s tweet was scathing.
‘What a disgusting post from Washington Post reporter Felicia Sonmez immediately after Kobe Bryant and his daughter’s death,’ tweeted one Twitter user.
Another Twitter user wrote: ‘It takes immense skill and stupidity to find a way to play the victim, in a moment where 9 people lost their lives in a helicopter crash.
‘Again, delete your account.’
One Twitter user demanded: ‘Hey @washingtonpost , do the right thing and show the world that irresponsible journalism is unacceptable.’
Another Twitter user wrote: ‘There’s a time & place for everything. Bringing up dirt on someone that just died only a few hours ago is neither the time or place. Felicia is a f***ing disgrace to her profession.’
Wrote another Twitter user: ‘Whether it was written by you doesn’t matter. It was YOUR boneheaded decision to repost it within hours of his death. You’re slime.’
Another Twitter user wrote: ‘Here’s an idea for @washingtonpost…Send Felicia to Wunan [sic], China as a permanent resident reporter to cover that region. Like next flight out immediately.’
What the Post did strikes me as problematic. The sexual assault case in 2003 was a big deal and it’s part of remembering such an important public figure. @feliciasonmez‘s observation about Kobe was reasonable precisely because it is an uncomfortable truth. Isn’t that journalism? https://t.co/mOHiTOxOoP
— Matt Stoller (@matthewstoller) January 27, 2020
Served up way past bedtime and with a full stomach to boot:
Sonmez’s tweet referenced an alleged instance of sexual assault purportedly occurring in 2003 by a then 19-year-old employee at a Colorado hotel.
Although the basketball player denied the charges, which were dropped when the accuser refused to testify, Bryant did admit to cheating on his wife Vanessa and reportedly settled a civil suit with the alleged victim.
Terms of the agreement were never released.
Bryant, who was 27 years old at the time, was arrested and charged with sexual assault and false imprisonment – crimes which could have landed him in prison for the rest of his life.
The accuser agreed to drop the charges on condition that Bryant issue a formal apology in court. Bryant accepted the terms and had his lawyer read the apology.
While Bryant denied ever raping his accuser, he conceded having sex with his accuser, having told police the sex was consensual.
The claim came despite Bryant denying there was any sexual contact.
Twitter votes thumbs down and how …
what wapo did to felicia sonmez is so shameful—even if the ostensible reason for suspending is that she tweeted the names of people emailing her. media organizations are still so susceptible to gamergate style campaigns from right-wing psychos (who fueled the outrage against her)
— guy fieri 2020 campaign manager (@libbycwatson) January 27, 2020
Why are you gleeful about reporter @feliciasonmez being disciplined for.. reminding people of a story that was much-discussed and -reported at the time? Perhaps this wasn’t the time to mention it. But the allegation was a serious one—and clearly forgotten in the fawning coverage. https://t.co/WVTncgOIiH
— Kelly Jane Torrance (@KJTorrance) January 27, 2020
This is absurd and sends a clear and terrible message to survivors and also perpetrators. @feliciasonmez shared information that was accurate, verifiable and true, but made some people upset. It is self-evident that many men who do good things are also capable of doing harm. https://t.co/qCoLWiLvpd
— Soraya Chemaly (@schemaly) January 27, 2020
Plz do not conflate the inappropriate responses to those who report sexual abuse (who have little to no control over the incident) with the responses you received for a decision you bear 100% responsibility. You tweeted someone else’s 3 yr old article 3 hrs after someone’s death. pic.twitter.com/7c2JKNuCr8
— Joe Kennedy (@JoeKennedy1414) January 27, 2020