Celebrity

How Felicia Sonmez’s Tweet On Sexual Assault Against Kobe Bryant Made Headlines?

Jan 28 2020 By Akbar Shekh

When a normal person dies, people start searching for evidence. If a celebrity or a famous star dies, it takes no longer for their fans to speculate a variety of reasons for their death. It could be a co-incident or also could be a fact that Felicia Sonmez has now totally spread around the headlines after she tweeted a link of 2016 story about Kobe’s rape case following some hours of the helicopter crash where Kobe passed away with his 13 years old daughter, Gianna Bryant on 26th January 2020.

After her tweet started floating all around the social media, Felicia received a suspension letter from Washington Post where she was serving as a journalist. The 37 years lady is now surrounded by controversies due to her tweets on Kobe Bryant. Before these tweets, she had also taken actions against sexual violence.

Let’s dig into the case and make it understandable.

Kobe Bryant’s 2003 Rape Case: Recalled

Mentioning from the beginning, Kobe Bryant’s case of sexual assault was first made in July 2003. The complaint was filed by a 19 years old hotel employee. Shortly after the complaint, Kobe had got arrested. As per the records, the girl had accused Bryant in the case of raping her in the hotel room on 1st July before Kobe went for a surgery, for what he was there.

After Kobe’s clarification in the case, he had denied the allegations of rape that made against him. Also, he admitted not having any sexual intercourse with his accuser. Later in the case, Kobe also submitted his rape test kit and went through a lie detector test.

During that time, he spent some time in prison and got released with a $25,000 bond. When the case reached the court, the allegations against Kobe’s sexual assaults were made clear. He stated that it was just a consensual state and finally jumped out of the case.

What Had Felicia Sonmez Tweeted?

It all started with Felicia Sonmez’s tweet about Kobe Bryant’s 2003 rape allegation where Felicia recalled the 2016 story of Daily Beast after some hours from his death. The story collects the content of a sexual allegation made against Kobe which was posted in 2016. Shortly after she made the tweet, the well-wishers of Kobe started commenting on her tweet.

Felicia Sonmez got into a controversy after her tweet against Kobe Bryant on 26th January 2020
Felicia Sonmez got into a controversy after her tweet against Kobe Bryant on sexual assault on 26th January 2020
Image Source: DailyMail

On one side, many of Kobe’s fans are in grief for his death, however, on the other side, they are not so happy with Felicia’s tweet. When fans started commenting negatively on the link of her tweet, she defended from her side saying:

Any public figure is worth remembering in their totality even if that public figure is beloved and that totality unsettling.

The screenshot of Felicia Sonmez's tweet after the helicopter crash of Kobe Bryant on 26th January 2020
The screenshot of Felicia Sonmez’s tweet after the helicopter crash of Kobe Bryant on 26th January 2020
Image Source:

Felicia has already deleted all the tweets from her profile, although there are pieces of her tweet screenshots which are only available due to the paper’s media.

Felicia Sonmez’s Death Threats

After the tweet went viral, Felicia stated that she is receiving death threats and also posted a screenshot of her inbox as well as the senders.

Let’s take a look at what she wrote:

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. That folks are responding with rage & threats toward me (someone who didn’t even write the piece but found it well-reported) speakes volumes about the pressure people come under to stay silent in these cases.

Felicia Sonmez opened that she is receiving death threats from Kobe's fans
Felicia Sonmez opened that she is receiving death threats from Kobe’s fans
Image Source: New York Post

From the perspective of Felicia, she is just a normal citizen who must have a voice against sexual violence. Not only this time but she has always been a spokesperson against sexual assault.

Has Been a Spokesperson For Sexual Violence

In the year 2018, Felicia Sonmez had spoken against Jonathan Kaiman for sexual misconduct. She was one of two accusers in the case. Jonathan is now a former Beijing bureau chief for The Los Angeles Times. Shortly after the allegation against Jonathan, a quick investigation took place.

During the investigation, Jonathan defended his actions and stated that his actions were mutually consensual. As a result, he ended up resigning from his job according to the report of The New York Times. One of the statements of The Post Guild, it represented the employees of the company which wrote:

This is not the first time that The Post has sought to control how Felicia speaks on matters of sexual violence. Felicia herself is a survivor of assault who bravely comes forward with her story two years ago. When articles attacking her were published in other outlets, The Post did not release a statement in support of one of its respected political reporters. 

The Post also added:

We are concerned by The Post’s unwillingness to be transparent about this issue, and alarmed by the implication that reporters will be penalized for talking about any topic not on their beat.

From all this, we come to know that Felicia has always been a spokesperson against sexual misconduct. As a normal citizen, she must get a platform to raise a voice against social misconduct.

Felicia Sonmez Is Now Suspended From Her Job

Felicia Sonmez is now suspended from her job due to her unsatisfactory tweet. The Post’s executive editor, Marty Baron sent an email to Felicia on Sunday (26th January 2020), as per The New Times report which says:

A real lack of judgment to tweet this. Please stop. You’re hurting this institution by doing this.

Felicia was ordered for a quick leave. Looking all this, Tracy Grant, The Post’s managing editor supported Felicia and told on Monday,

The tweets displayed poor judgment that undermined the work of her colleagues. National political reporter Felicia Sonmez was placed on administrative leave while The Post reviews whether the tweets about the death of Kobe Bryant violated The Post newsroom’s social media policy.

Sonmez is now living separately on the safe side so that, no one could harm her. The case is still on its way to the investigation.

Short Bio of Felicia Sonmez

Felicia Sonmez is reportedly at the age of 37 as per her birthdate on 6th June 1983. Recently, she got fired from her position as a national reporter on The Washington Post. She became a topic of public attention after her tweet on sexual assault against Kobe Bryant. Except for this, she has not revealed anything about her personal life.

Nevertheless, Felicia is active on social media, especially on Twitter with over 72.8k followers. As per her Twitter, she previously worked for The Wall Street Journal and also served the AFP news agency. Currently, she might not be working due to these floating controversies all over the internet.

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