Weigel did not respond to a request for comment, but an out-of-office reply from his email address stated that he would be back at work on July 5. Weigel publicly apologized last week for the retweet, saying he “didn’t intend to cause any harm”.
A spokesperson for The Post declined to comment, citing the need for privacy regarding staff matters.
Sonmez sarcastically wrote on Twitter on Friday that it’s “great to work in a news organization where retweets like this are allowed.” She attached a screenshot showing Weigel’s retweet, which was from a tweet from YouTuber Cam Harless, who joked: “Every girl is bi. You just have to figure out if she’s polar or sexual.”
Sonmez, according to messages obtained by CNN, also confronted Weigel in an internal Slack channel of the company. He tagged it and wrote: “Sorry but what is this?”
Sonmez added in the Slack channel that the retweet sent “a confusing message about what the Post’s values are”.
Other Fridays they joined the discussion on the Slack channel, prompting national publisher Matea Gold to write: “I just want to assure you all that The Post is committed to maintaining a respectful workplace for all. We do not tolerate humiliating language or actions. “
Main spokesperson for the Post, Kris Coratti, also released a statement to the press stating, “The editors made it clear to staff that the tweet was reprehensible and humiliating language or such actions will not be tolerated.”
But the public and private reprimand of Weigel’s retweet failed to quell the tension within The Post.
Jose A. Del Real, a reporter for The Post, responded to Sonmez’s initial tweet on Twitter Saturday. Del Real said Weigel’s tweet was “terrible and unacceptable”.
“But,” he added, “rallying the Internet to attack him for a mistake he made doesn’t really solve anything. We all screw up one way or another. There’s such a thing as defying compassion.”
Sonmez responded, saying that “invoking sexism is not ‘cruelty'”, but something that is “absolutely necessary”.
Sonmez and Del Real then continued to engage in a back-and-forth on Twitter Saturday, with Del Real eventually moving in to temporarily deactivate his account.
Sally Buzbee, the executive editor of The Post, tried to curb the editorial team on Sunday morning by sending a memo reminding staff members “to treat each other with respect and kindness both in the newsroom and online.”
“The Washington Post is committed to creating an inclusive and respectful environment, free from harassment, discrimination or prejudice of any kind,” Buzbee added. “When problems arise, please raise them with leadership or human resources and we will address them promptly and firmly.”
However, the leadership’s attempt to quell the controversy failed again.
Sonmez said on Twitter Sunday afternoon that Buzbee’s note had provided “fodder for * more * harassment” against her.
Del Real reactivated his account and posted a statement on Sunday afternoon, saying he faced “a relentless series of attacks intended to tarnish my professional and personal reputation” after tweeting to Sonmez.
Sonmez proceeded to call Del Real for blocking her and said that instead of apologizing he had instead made a series of “false allegations and incorrect characters” in his statement. Sonmez said, for example, he saw “no comment” with the intention of damaging Del Real’s reputation.
Sonmez then tagged Buzbee and Gold on Twitter on Sunday night and said he contacted them to discuss the matter, but had not been answered.
“Retaliation against a colleague for speaking out against sexism never goes well,” Sonmez wrote. “I hope the leaders of the Washington Post treat this as the serious problem it is.”
On Monday morning, the tension at The Post was still high.
Video Technique Breanna Muir responded to emails from all Buzbee staff, applauding Sonmez for “speaking out against harassment, discrimination and sexism”.
Muir attached a tweet showing that Micah Gelman, the head of The Post’s video team, had once misidentified her as “Breanna Taylor”.
“If the Washington Post is engaged in an inclusive and respectful environment, free from harassment, discrimination or prejudice of any kind, then can anyone help me understand the tweets / rts of Micah Gelman and David Weigel?” Muir asked.
“These tweets / rt’s not only hurt the women in our newsroom, they make it extremely difficult to do our best,” added Muir. “Ultimately, it creates a toxic work environment.”
Gelman previously apologized to Muir for misidentifying her. When the incident happened in February, she tweeted: “In a lengthy thread last night thanking my staff for the exhaustive working hours, I inadvertently misidentified Breanna Muir. I contacted her to apologize and do it here. now. We are all working extremely long hours and although this was not intentional, it shouldn’t have happened. “
Coratti also released a statement at the time noting that Gelman “apologized both publicly and privately for his mistake.”
“However, we don’t take the impact of that mistake lightly and regret the emotional toll it has had on Breanna,” Coratti added. “We have also contacted her and are committed to promoting an inclusive environment throughout the editorial staff.”