Felicia Sonmez's huge meltdown
The Washington Post has turned itself into a national laughingstock as employees reveal themselves to be little more than immature high-schoolers out backbiting at one another, some of whom do indeed seem bipolar.
The Post said "enough" in the case of national politics reporter Felicia Sonmez, who got colleague Dave Weigel suspended after he retweeted a stupid sexist tweet about women being either bipolar or bisexual, which was followed by spats with various colleagues who told her to take it easy, and then a companywide corporate memo written by executive editor Sally Buzbee ordering employees to play nice with other employees. Instead of cutting off the ranting right there in the name of keeping her job, Sonmez went into a full raging meltdown instead, basically attacking everyone she could find at the Post, particularly her bosses.
I screen-grabbed her bitter last flood of tweets:
It sounds like she wasn't a very happy person over at the Post. In a normal workplace, you don't want to be seen as a chronically unhappy person, but Sonmez never got that memo.
Vanity Fair has an interesting write-up on the whole sequence of rapid-fire tweets in her final frenzy. She didn't even have mainstream media friends on the left in her tree at that point.
What we see here is a wretched person in constant warfare against her bosses and management, taking every guardrail and admonition as a license to scream harder about all the "injustices" at her workplace and the badness of her bosses. Rule Number One for staying employed in the real world is to not get into open warfare with your bosses, especially in public. But Sonmez was something special.
We also see that she stepped up her attacks against employees, against policies, and against bosses — and, yes, insubordination against the order from on high to play nice with one another, which was what her firing letter said. The Washington Post, quoting the New York Times, said the letter read that she got the boot "for misconduct that includes insubordination, maligning your co-workers online and violating The Post's standards on workplace collegiality and inclusivity."
The amazing thing was that Sonmez didn't have a clue as to what was coming down the pike for her as management got sick of this. This tweet is my personal favorite from this encounter.
She didn't read that as a warning? It ought to have been a warning to her that Del Real, who was clearly aligned with management, had gotten some kind of clearance to shut her off.
Sonmez saw nothing of the sort, and rather than keep the embarrassing "block" quiet, she declared it a new public occasion for a complaint against a newsroom colleague, a new injustice for her. It was like bait to her, and like a trained wokester seal, she leaped for the treat.
She didn't have a clue about that signal at all.
Instead, she was convinced everyone was on her side. In her last rearguard action, she seemed to be focused on retweeting people who stroked and soothed her as a non-lunatic while the rest of the world cringed.
Oh, and there was an impressive side of ingratitude, in the last-of-the-series tweet about Weigel. In Sonmez's mind, she was always the victim, as well as a pretty entitled one.
The thing is, while Sonmez's firing seemed to be baked in the cake, the Post and its management have only themselves to blame. Every signal that Sonmez had gotten from the day she was hired to her ignominious "bucket of water from Dorothy" exit was that what she was doing was all right.
How did she get hired? By jumping onto the #MeToo bandwagon, throwing up some questionable charges over a consensual sexual encounter in Beijing with Los Angeles Times bureau chief Jonathan Kaiman, whose career was ruined as a result. The account of Kaiman as the "least powerful" #MeToo victim in Reason in a piece called "I'm Radioactive" by Emily Yoffe tells us a lot about Sonmez's malevolent capacities in the name of winning plaudits for the virtue-signal of the moment.
After the accusations and the takedown of Kaiman, who's unemployable as a journalist now, Sonmez was rewarded with a plum job at the Washington Post. They must have felt so good about themselves to be pulling in a #MeToo "victim."
There were other bad signals that followed: Sonmez got herself into trouble by yelling the same sex-harassment mantra back when Kobe Bryant and his little daughter Gianna and a others were killed in a terrible helicopter crash in Southern California, using that death occasion to bring up old charges that Bryant had raped a woman in a case that had been resolved to all parties' satisfaction years earlier. As usual, she misread the room.
But instead of admitting her error, she got positive reinforcement from WaPo colleagues. According to Vanity Fair:
In the past, Sonmez has had widespread support in the newsroom; hundreds of colleagues signed a letter on her behalf in 2020, after Baron suspended her for tweeting an article detailing a rape allegation against NBA legend Kobe Bryant shortly after his death. (A "newsroom revolt" is how this publication described it at the time.) Soon after the paper's guild sent that letter to management, she was reinstated. But since then, there have been multiple instances of Sonmez calling out the paper publicly — and she has done so internally in response to a staff email as well.
Sonmez had also sued her employer for not letting her cover the Brett Kavanaugh Senate confirmation hearings on the grounds that she had a conflict of interest as a sexual assault victim. That must have endeared her to her employers, and she missed that clue, both in the decision and the result, too. A judge threw the case out "with prejudice," meaning she can't file that case again.
On every occasion, she had been coddled by the wokester management at the Post, no matter what she did. When she finally turned on them and went into full meltdown, they acted late to get rid of her. If Sonmez was bad at reading clues from management, management was even worse, thinking crazed harridan who constantly flung charges at others wouldn't eventually come for them.
Her case, in fact, reminds me of this one at the Los Angeles Times 20 years ago — a coddled person who was brought on in a state of privilege and eventually turned her rage against her colleagues as dreadful racists and writers not nearly as good as she was. She resigned in a grand gesture with a 3,400-word wokester resignation letter, decrying all that racism at the Times, but management wouldn't let her back after she begged to come back after she had cooled off. She actually has since admitted to being bipolar.
Well, now we have Somnez, who is even worse, and Kaiman must be ruefully stroking his chin knowingly. The Post should have seen this human disaster coming instead of rewarding her. As Steven Hayward notes at Power Line, she will probably next turn up at Columbia Journalism School with another plum post...before her next meltdown. If there's one thing wokesters understand, it's how to "fail upward."
Image: Twitter screen shot.