Felicia Sonmez, a Washington Post reporter who was suspended for tweeting a story about ex-NBA player Kobe Bryant’s sexual assault allegations after his death, claims her suspension for the tweets has “sown confusion” about the newspaper's commitment to “tell all the truth.” In a Tuesday night statement, Sonmez said Post employees and readers deserved to hear directly from management—including executive editor Marty Baron—about how they reacted to her tweets. “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 wrote. “My suspension, and Mr. Baron’s Jan. 26 email warning me that my tweets about a matter of public record were ‘hurting this institution,’ have unfortunately sown confusion about the depth of management’s commitment to this goal.” She also said she hoped Post leadership would, in the future, work to ensure “no journalist will be punished for speaking the truth.”
Sonmez was suspended after tweeting out a 2016 Daily Beast story recapping the allegations against Bryant, which she claimed prompted people to threaten her. The union condemned the action, and The New York Times later reported that Baron e-mailed Sonmez and said her tweet showed a “real lack of judgment.” On Tuesday, Post management said they concluded Sonmez was not in violation of their social media policy and they regretted speaking about the personnel matter publicly.