Felicia Sonmez Sues Washington Post and Martin Baron, Claiming Discrimination

Felicia Sonmez, a Washington Post reporter, on Wednesday filed a discrimination lawsuit in opposition to the newspaper and a few of its prime editors, claiming that they had discriminated in opposition to her by barring her from overlaying tales associated to sexual assault after she went public as a sufferer of assault.

Ms. Sonmez, who has coated breaking political information at The Post since 2018, stated within the lawsuit that she had been subjected to a hostile work atmosphere after her editors put in place two bans over almost two years that prevented her from excelling at her job.

The lawsuit was filed within the Superior Court of the District of Columbia on Wednesday. Among the defendants is The Post’s former government editor, Martin Baron, who retired in February. The go well with additionally names as defendants 5 present high-level editors, Cameron Barr, Tracy Grant, Steve Ginsberg, Lori Montgomery and Peter Wallsten.

Ms. Sonmez stated within the lawsuit that after she publicly acknowledged in 2018 that she had been assaulted by a fellow journalist whereas dwelling in Beijing, The Post had barred her from overlaying Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual misconduct allegations in opposition to Brett Kavanaugh. (The accused journalist, who labored for The Los Angeles Times on the time, has denied the allegations.)

After an article in Reason journal on allegations in opposition to the journalist got here out a yr later, Ms. Sonmez stated she was once more subjected to a protection ban by The Post. She added that she was “disciplined” by her editors at The Post for publicly requesting a correction to the article.

In January 2020, Ms. Sonmez was suspended by The Post after she tweeted a hyperlink to a information article detailing sexual assault allegations in opposition to the basketball star Kobe Bryant shortly after his demise. She alleges within the lawsuit that The Post didn’t present safety for her after she was inundated afterward with rape and demise threats. That suspension was later overturned.

The second protection ban in opposition to Ms. Sonmez was lifted after she publicly pleaded together with her editors to take action, in keeping with the lawsuit.

The lawsuit stated that, due to the protection bans, Ms. Sonmez “was denied the opportunity to cover many stories that were newsworthy and received widespread attention that would have led to further exposure and career advancement.” She additionally suffered “economic loss, humiliation, embarrassment, mental and emotional distress, and the deprivation of her rights to equal employment opportunities,” in keeping with the go well with.

A spokeswoman for The Post declined to remark. Mr. Baron didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

Ms. Sonmez has demanded a jury trial. She is asking for $2 million in damages, or an quantity “to be determined by the jury.”