A fellow reporter at The Post called him out for reposting the tweet, which prompted a larger wave of backlash.
Suspended Without Pay
On Monday, CNN broke the news that veteran politics reporter Dave Weigel has been suspended without pay from his position at The Washington Post for retweeting a joke some considered sexist.
“Every girl is bi. You just have to figure out if it’s polar or sexual,” read the original tweet by YouTuber Cam Harless.
Felicia Sonmez, who is also a politics reporter at The Post, criticized Weigel for his retweet, sparking a controversy that embroiled social media through the weekend.
She tweeted that it’s “fantastic to work at a news outlet where retweets like this are allowed.”
She also reportedly tagged Weigel in an internal company Slack channel and asked, “I’m sorry but what is this?”
Kris Coratti, the chief spokesperson for The Post, said that editors at the outlet have denounced the tweet.
“Editors have made clear to the staff that the tweet was reprehensible and demeaning language or actions like that will not be tolerated,” Coratti told reporters.
Weigel removed the retweet, calling it an “offensive joke” and saying, “I apologize and did not mean to cause any harm.”
Meanwhile, Harless said, “It’s weird to see someone else apologize for something you tweeted.”
Another reporter for the outlet, Jose A. Del Real, commented that Weigel’s retweet was “terrible” and “unacceptable” but argued that the highly public condemnations were not necessary.
“Rallying the internet to attack him for a mistake he made doesn’t actually solve anything,” he said. “We all mess up in some way or another. There is such a thing as challenging with compassion.”
Del Real and Sonmez argued about the matter on Twitter until Del Real temporarily deactivated his account.
“When women stand up for themselves, some people respond with even more vitriol,” Sonmez tweeted.
Del Real later reactivated his account, saying the events had caused “an unrelenting series of attacks intended to tarnish [his] professional and personal reputation.”
The Post Responds
On Sunday morning, The Washington Post’s executive editor Sally Buzbee sent a memo to the newsroom staff reminding them to “treat each other with respect and kindness both in the newsroom and online.”
“When issues arise, please raise them with leadership or human resources and we will address them promptly and firmly,” she added.
Sonmez then tweeted that Buzbee’s comments only provided fodder for more harassment against her. Sonmez also said on Twitter that she had reached out to Buzbee and another editor at The Post to discuss the matter but didn’t hear back.
Several more employees at The Post joined in the discussion on social media, sharing experiences of sexism and racism in the workplace.
After CNN broke the news of Weigel’s suspension, the outlet claimed that The Post was reluctant to comment on the matter because it involved personnel.
When CNN emailed The Post for comment, an out-of-office message said Weigel would return on July 5.
Some criticized The Post for its decision on social media, while others defended it and Sonmez.
“Dave Weigel has now suffered greater consequences for a retweet than anyone who promoted Iraq War WMD propaganda or banker porn about the 2008 global financial crisis,” one user tweeted.
“I’m sad that all of us who subscribe to the Washington Post for their journalism won’t get to read @daveweigel’s coverage of the primaries taking place this month because the paper has put optics and politics before ethics and fairness,” another user said. “It’s a disservice to readers.”
“When I first saw @feliciasomnez criticizing that sexist retweet, I thought that she was right but it wasn’t a big deal,” a user tweeted. “The horrific backlash to her totally justified criticism, including ongoing harassment by her male colleague, proves just how right she was about sexism at wapo.”
“As a young journalist who’s also been extremely open about being a survivor of sexual assault, it means so much to me to see @feliciasomnez standing up for others,” journalist Alison Berg tweeted. “Extremely disappointing but not surprising to see how many men will continue to dig their heels into misogyny.”
Somnez posted a Twitter thread blasting what she calls a sexist culture at The Washington Post.
“For years, Post employees have been raising concerns of unequal treatment of employees from different backgrounds, or of ‘stars’ versus everyone else — not just when it comes to social media use,” she wrote.
Sonmez herself was placed on administrative leave from The Post in 2020 after she shared an article about rape allegations against Kobe Bryant in the wake of his death.
She received criticism for it, but The Post reversed her leave after Weigel and many others signed a letter defending her.
See what others are saying: (CNN) (Fox News) (The Daily Beast)
Kathy Griffin, Ethan Klein, More Suspended From Twitter Over Elon Musk Impersonations
Many have pretended to be Musk in an attempt to highlight the potential issues paid-for verifications could cause on the platform.
Musk Takes on Impersonations
Comedian Kathy Griffin and internet personality Ethan Klein are among the many Twitter users that have been permanently suspended for impersonating the platform’s new CEO, Elon Musk.
Impersonation has long been against Twitter’s rules, but on Sunday, the billionaire took the policy a step further by announcing that “any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying ‘parody’ will be permanently suspended.”
“Previously, we issued a warning before suspension, but now that we are rolling out widespread verification, there will be no warning,” Musk explained. “This will be clearly identified as a condition for signing up to Twitter Blue.”
Musk also said that any user who changes their name will temporarily lose their verification check mark.
The announcement came as many verified users began mocking Musk by changing their name and photo to match his, then tweeting jokes that were either absurd or out of character for the business mogul. Many did this to protest Musk’s plan to charge an $8 monthly subscription fee that would allow any Twitter user to become verified.
Klein was one of many who changed his name to “Elon Musk” and made a photo of the CEO his profile image. The podcast host sent out several jokes, including one referencing the increased use of the N-word on the platform since Musk’s takeover, and another referencing Jeffrey Epstein.
“Even though Jeffrey Epstein committed horrible crimes, I do still miss him on nights like this for his warmth and camaraderie. Rest In Peace old Friend,” he wrote.
His account was quickly banned, but Klein defended himself on TikTok, arguing that both his cover photo and bio labeled his account as “parody” and therefore should be acceptable under Musk’s guidelines.
“What more do you want from me?” he asked. “Comedy is dead. And Elon Musk dug the grave.”
Protests of Musk’s Twitter Control
For her part, Griffin likewise tweeted while masquerading as Musk, writing that after “spirited discussion with the females in my life, I’ve decided that voting blue for their choice is only right.”
Musk joked that she was actually “suspended for impersonating a comedian” and added that she can have her account back if she pays for the $8 subscription. Griffin, however, found another way around the ban.
The comedian logged into her late mother’s Twitter account and began using the hashtag #FreeKathy while calling out Musk.
“Mad Men” actor Rich Sommer and podcaster Griffin Newman have also had their accounts suspended for tweeting as Musk. Other celebrities, including TV producer Shonda Rhimes, musician Sara Bareilles, and model Gigi Hadid have protested Musk’s Twitter reign by leaving the platform altogether.
“For a long time, but especially with its new leadership, it’s becoming more and more of a cesspool of hate & bigotry, and it’s not a place I want to be a part of,” Hadid wrote on Instagram over the weekend.
AOC Says Twitter Notifications “Conveniently” Disabled After Criticizing Musk
“What’s good? Doesn’t seem very free speechy to me,” she tweeted at the new CEO.
AOC Vs. Elon Musk
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) said several of her Twitter features are “conveniently not working” after feuding with the platform’s new owner, billionaire Elon Musk.
Ocasio-Cortez has never been shy about her views on Musk. After he officially took charge of Twitter last week, the congresswoman began criticizing his new proposals for the social networking site, specifically his plan to charge an $8 subscription fee for verification.
“Lmao at a billionaire earnestly trying to sell people on the idea that ‘free speech’ is actually a $8/mo subscription plan,” she wrote on Tuesday.
“Your feedback is appreciated, now pay $8,” Musk replied the following day.
Around an hour later, the business mogul sent another tweet appearing to call Ocasio-Cortez out for selling $58 sweatshirts.
“Proud of this and always will be,” she shot back. “My workers are union, make a living wage, have full healthcare, and aren’t subject to racist treatment in their workplaces. Items are made in USA. Team AOC honors and respects working people. You should try it sometime instead of union-busting.”
In a follow-up tweet, she noted that proceeds go to community organizing programs, including one that tutors students who are falling behind because of COVID-19.
AOC’s Mentions Not Working
On Wednesday evening, just hours after her back-and-forth with Musk, Ocasio-Cortez told her followers that her “Twitter mentions/notifications conveniently aren’t working tonight.”
“I was informed via text that I seem to have gotten under a certain billionaire’s skin,” she added. “Just a reminder that money will never [buy] your way out of insecurity, folks.”
The issue seemingly continued into Thursday morning when the Democrat tweeted a screenshot of her notifications page, which loaded no results.
“Why should people pay $8 just for their app to get bricked when they say something you don’t like?” she tweeted at Musk. “This is what my app has looked like ever since my tweet upset you yesterday. What’s good? Doesn’t seem very free speechy to me.”
Musk has repeatedly claimed that one of his primary motives to buy Twitter was to protect free speech. Once taking the reigns as CEO, though, he did say he would start a content moderation council and make decisions jointly with them.
South Carolina County Votes Against Moving LGBTQ+ Friendly Books Away from Children’s Section
Efforts to limit LGBTQ+ content in libraries first began over the summer.
Attempts to Restrict LGBTQ+ Displays
The county council in Greenville County, South Carolina this week voted against discussing a resolution that would move all books “promoting sexuality” to the adult section.
This resolution is the culmination of months of turmoil in Greenville County. In June, libraries in the county removed Pride displays at the direction of library officials. Then in September, the county’s Republican Party executive board passed a resolution to call on the County Council to restrict access to books with LGBTQ+ themes and characters.
The resolution was proposed by Joe Dill, an outgoing council member, as well as a member of the county’s Republican Party executive board. It proposed the council “officially order that no books or content, including digital copies or online accessible materials, promoting sexuality be allowed in the Children’s Sections of our public libraries.”
However, the resolution required the council to suspend its regular rules in order to discuss it as it was not submitted to the council via committee. The final vote was 9 to 3 against the suspension of the rules and effectively killed the resolution.
Those that voted against it viewed the resolution as an overreach.
“We just do not believe that’s our job to get involved in the library’s business,” Council member Ennis Fett said to a local news outlet. “We appoint a board. We can not set a precedent of micromanaging the library board, because if we do that, then, we will be micromanaging all boards and commissions that we appoint.”
Although the council decided not to get involved, the library still has the final decision to make regarding these books. Their meeting to discuss the matter is scheduled for December 5.