Felicia Sonmez, a reporter for The Washington Post, was slammed for focusing on the Kobe Bryant rape case after news broke that he had died in a helicopter crash along with 13-year-old daughter Gianna.
The media outlet felt the backlash and went as far as suspending Sonmez for the now-deleted viral tweet.
Sonmez took to social media and shared a link to a 2016 story, (she is not the author of the article), from The Daily Beast with the following headline: “Kobe Bryant’s Disturbing Rape Case: The DNA Evidence, the Accuser’s Story, and the Half-Confession.”
The journalist was destroyed by fans of the basketball star who forced her to remove it.
She later posted a message saying that she was receiving death threats: “Well, THAT was eye-opening. To the 10,000 people (literally) who have commented and emailed me with abuse and death threats, please take a moment and read the story — which was written 3+ years ago, and not by me. Any public figure is worth remembering in their totality, even if that public figure is beloved and that totality unsettling.”
She added: “That folks are responding with rage & threats toward me (someone who didn’t even write the piece but found it well-reported) speaks volumes about the pressure people come under to stay silent in these cases.”
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Struggling journalist #FeliciaSonmez has been suspended after basically calling #KobeBryant a rapist right after he and his daughter were tragically killed. She immediately tweeted out a link to his dismissed rape case as soon as the world started mourning his death. Why am I not surprised.
One fan had this reaction: “It’s so many sick and deranged people that hold important positions within a company. Just wicked. Yes, she didn’t write it, but she retweeted an article on her page about that situation after this man and his daughter just passed…I mean how insensitive can you be…**** her tired of these folks (y’ all know who I mean) thinking they can do and say what they want w/o consequence. RIP Kobe and Gigi and all the ones that lost their lives, let’s continue to keep the families uplifted.”
Another commenter stated: “My issue with this is that they are very selective about who it is they defame and that selectiveness usually bypasses the white folks and strikes black people right in the heart. What a time to bring up ALLEGATIONS, not facts. He wasn’t convicted of anything.”
This follower shared: “Administrative leave is their first response dealing with Beckys. Meanwhile, for us, it’s termination w/ the possibility of charges pending. I’m so tired of this sh#%!!!!!!!! She’s not the only one. I just read another one from USA Today. Disgusted! What happened to innocent until proven guilty? This man was not convicted of any crime. It’s just tasteless and too soon.”
This person shared the following advice: “Rape is Major. Some people have not and will not ever let it go. I always warn young Black men to be mindful and extremely careful about sex, relationships, including interracial.”
Reporters with a little bit of clout in the newsroom have taking a stand and are defending Sonmez.