Reporter reinstated after Kobe Bryant tweet row

The Washington Post has reinstated a reporter who tweeted about historic sexual allegations against Kobe Bryant soon after his death.

Felicia Sonmez posted a link to a 2016 article about the allegations, and received death threats online.

She was later suspended over the tweets – prompting hundreds of her colleagues to condemn the paper.

Managing editor Tracy Grant called the posts “ill-timed”, but said they did not break the paper’s policies.

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“We consistently urge restraint, which is particularly important when there are tragic deaths,” her statement read. “We regret having spoken publicly about a personnel matter.”

More than 300 Washington Post employees signed a letter in support of Ms Sonmez on Tuesday, including Pulitzer Prize winners David Fahrenthold and Beth Reinhard, and White House Bureau Chief Philip Rucker.

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The Washington Post Guild welcomed the decision to reinstate the reporter, although said it was “disappointed” that the paper did not apologise to Sonmez and said the company should prioritise staff safety in the future.

And Sonmez herself called on chief editor Marty Baron to explain why the paper handled the issue as it did, and stressed that she had tweeted about “a matter of public record”.

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Sonmez tweeted a 2016 Daily Beast story about the rape allegations against Kobe Bryant just hours after the basketball legend died in a helicopter crash that killed nine people – including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna.


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