Reporter Felicia Sonmez of The Washington Post doesn’t feel supported by the paper’s management and burst into tears when her therapist asked her about it, she tweeted on Sunday. Sonmez, who is herself a sexual assault survivor, was suspended by now-former executive editor Marty Baron after reminding her Twitter followers in the wake of Kobe Bryant’s January 2020 death that the superstar NBA player had previously been accused of rape. The suspension was eventually lifted as a result of an outpouring of support from hundreds of other journalists, but Baron later reportedly barred Sonmez from covering anything related to sexual misconduct or #MeToo.
“The reason I’ve repeatedly been given by senior editors is that they are worried about ‘the appearance of a conflict of interest’ if they allow me to write on sexual assault,” Sonmez wrote in a Twitter thread. “They’ve told me they don’t believe there’s an actual conflict, or even that my writing would be biased in any way. I’ve sent them a long list of stories I’ve written that proves that’s not the case. This reason, I believe, makes no sense... I’ve pleaded with the editors to lift it, to no avail. So I’ve just kept trying to do my job.”