The reporter, Felicia Sonmez, confronted a fierce backlash on-line after she tweeted a 2016 Every day Beast story — simply hours following information of the basketball legend’s tragic helicopter crash— that detailed a sexual assault allegation made in opposition to him.
Bryant was accused in 2003 of sexual assault, however the felony cost was later dropped. Though Bryant stopped in need of admitting guilt, he did acknowledge that whereas he considered the encounter as consensual, his accuser didn’t. Bryant later settled a civil swimsuit along with his accuser for an undisclosed amount of cash.
All of the tweets had been later deleted.
Tracy Grant, The Submit’s managing editor, stated in an announcement on Monday that the tweets “displayed poor judgement that undermined the work of her colleagues.”
“Nationwide political reporter Felicia Sonmez was positioned on administrative go away whereas The Submit critiques whether or not tweets concerning the dying of Kobe Bryant violated The Submit newsroom’s social media coverage,” Grant stated.
The suspension of Sonmez, nevertheless, generated its personal controversy.
Notably, in his piece for The Submit, Wemple referred to as the suspension “misguided.”
Sonmez did not reply to a request for remark Monday from CNN Enterprise, however Wemple interviewed her for his piece. Sonmez informed Wemple she stayed in a resort room Sunday evening for concern of her security. She added that she had solely eliminated her tweets as a result of she had been instructed by Grant to take action.
In response to Wemple, Grant stated in an e mail to her that the paper’s concern with Sonmez’s tweet was that it did not “pertain” to her “protection space.” Grant, based on Wemple, added that her “habits on social media” was “making it tougher for others to do their work as Washington Submit journalists.”
However, as Wemple famous, “If journalists at The Submit are liable to suspension for tweeting tales off their beats, your complete newsroom needs to be on administrative go away.”
Different journalists additionally strongly criticized The Submit’s determination.
“Information organizations ought to shield their journalists, not acquiesce to the mob when it comes for them. The Washington Submit not solely failed Felicia Sonmez, however set a harmful precedent,” tweeted Olivia Nuzzi, the Washington correspondent for New York journal.
“It is a horrifying technique to deal with your journalists,” tweeted Anushka Patil, a social technique editor at The New York Instances.
“Unconscionable,” tweeted Jake Offenhartz, a reporter for The Gothamist. “Unsure how the Submit may’ve dealt with this worse.”
In an announcement launched on Monday, The Submit Guild, which represents staff on the newspaper, stated, “This isn’t the primary time that The Submit has sought to regulate how Felicia speaks on issues of sexual violence.”
“Felicia herself is a survivor of assault who bravely got here ahead along with her story two years in the past. When articles attacking her had been revealed in different shops, The Submit didn’t launch an announcement in help of one in all its revered political reporters,” The Submit Guild famous. “As an alternative, administration issued a warning letter in opposition to Felicia for violating The Submit’s obscure and inconsistently enforced social media tips.”
The Submit Guild skewered The Submit, saying the newspaper had “failed to supply a transparent rationalization of why she was positioned on go away.”
“We’re involved by The Submit’s unwillingness to be clear about this difficulty, and alarmed by the implication that reporters shall be penalized for speaking about any subject not on their beat,” The Submit Guild stated.
A spokesperson for The Submit didn’t present touch upon The Guild’s assertion.