Washington Post reporter Felicia Sonmez filed a lawsuit against her publication as well as several editors over claims of discrimination.
On Thursday, Sonmez announced a lawsuit against her former editor Marty Baron as well as managing editor Cameron Barr, managing editor Tracy Grant, national editor Steven Ginsberg, Deputy National Editor Lori Montgomery, and senior politics editor Peter Wallsten. In a statement, she alleged these senior editors in the Washington Post prohibited her from reporting on stories on sexual misconduct.
Sonmez claimed this resulted from her outspokenness on being a survivor of sexual assault herself, and she was kept off stories such as the growing #MeToo movement as well as the allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. While the ban was lifted earlier this year, the lawsuit alleged Sonmez had already suffered “economic loss, humiliation, embarrassment, mental and emotional distress, and the deprivation of her rights to equal employment opportunities” as a result.
Sonmez first publicly disclosed her sexual trauma in 2018 and claimed that since the ban she has been “severely depressed, developed intense anxiety and received treatment from therapists and psychiatrists who she continues to see today.”
“They should never have to fear that they will be punished, silenced or barred from doing their jobs because of what was done to them,” Sonmez said. “Survivors of trauma, including sexual assault, deserve the full support of their newsrooms.”
Sonmez previously revealed her grievances with the Washington Post in March when she stated that she did not “feel supported” by her employer.
She later wrote, “It would be great if senior editors at the Post prioritized ‘actually supporting’ their female and POC staff instead of presenting the appearance of doing so as they compete for the paper’s top job. This harms all of us.”
The ban was lifted shortly afterward.
Sonmez previously received backlash for sharing a 2016 story about 2003 rape allegations against Kobe Bryant shortly after his tragic death on her Twitter account. She later deleted the tweet but was briefly suspended by the Washington Post for her actions. The suspension was later lifted after media backlash against the action. It was determined that Sonmez did not break social media policy with her tweets.
The Washington Post has yet to comment on the lawsuit.