Journalist Who Shared Story Of Kobe Bryant's Rape Case Hours After His Death Has Been Suspended

Journalist Who Shared Story Of Kobe Bryant's Rape Case Hours After His Death Has Been Suspended

Felicia Sonmez, a journalist with the Washington Post, has been suspended after she tweeted about Kobe Bryant's rape case hours after his death.

A Washington Post journalist has been suspended after she tweeted a link to the Kobe Bryant rape case that came out in 2016, just hours after the news of his death surfaced, reported Daily Mail.  Felicia Sonmez, who covered national politics for the Post, tweeted a link to an April 2016 story from The Daily Beast with the headline: ‘Kobe Bryant’s Disturbing Rape Case: The DNA Evidence, the Accuser’s Story, and the Half-Confession.’ Sonmez did this shortly after the world received news of the death of Kobe and his 13-year-old daughter, along with eight others aboard his private helicopter which crashed outside of Los Angeles.



The now-deleted tweet garnered hundreds of shares and thousands of likes as well as comments. Sonmez also mentioned that she had received death threats after posting the tweets. She then posted a follow-up tweet and 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 even if that public figure is beloved and that totality unsettling.



Somnez then added: That folks are responding with rage and 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. In another follow-up tweet, she wrote: As an addendum: Hard to see what’s accomplished by messages such as these. If your response to a news article is to resort to harassment and intimidation of journalists, you might want to consider that your behavior says more about you than the person you’re targeting.



Sonmez had to delete the tweets owing to the overwhelming backlash, but by then several people had taken screenshots of it and circulated them with a tone of disgust. It got so bad that the hashtag #FireFeliciaSonmez was trending on Twitter. Tracy Grant, managing editor of The Washington Post, said on Sunday, "National political reporter Felicia Sonmez was placed on administrative leave while The Post reviews whether tweets about the death of Kobe Bryant violated The Post newsroom’s social media policy. The tweets displayed poor judgment that undermined the work of her colleagues."



In 2003, Bryant was accused of rape by a 19-year-old employee at the Lodge & Spa at Cordillera, in Colorado. He did deny the charges, and they were dropped when the accuser refused to testify, but Kobe Bryant admitted to cheating on his wife Vanessa and reportedly settled a civil suit with the alleged victim. Bryant, 27 at the time, was arrested and charged with sexual assault and false imprisonment. 



The article link shared by Sonmez carried details about the alleged rape, including statements to police made by the accuser. The accuser told investigators that after she gave a tour of the lodge to Bryant, he cornered her in his room and started choking her. She then added Bryant tried to grope her and then started to get rough with her. The woman alleged that Bryant then used force to pin her against two chairs.  The woman alleged the vaginal penetration lasted ‘five minutes’ during which she was sobbing. After this, he warned her not to tell anyone about what happened. 



Bryant denied the rape allegations and told the police it was consensual. In a preliminary hearing, a detective testified that the accuser underwent an examination at a local hospital. "[The nurse] stated that there were several lacerations to the victim’s posterior fourchette or vaginal area, and two of those lacerations were approximately one centimeter in length," testified Detective Doug Winters of the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.



However, Bryant’s lawyers said that the accuser had a troubled past, stating that she had been hospitalized as a "danger to herself", four months before the alleged sexual assault. Lindsey McKinney, who used to live with the accuser, said her friend tried to kill herself at school at least twice. She mentioned that the woman had tried to overdose on sleeping pills. Eventually, the accuser agreed to drop the charges after Bryant's lawyer read out an apology in court. 




Disclaimer : This is based on sources and we have been unable to verify this information independently.

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