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Washington Post reprimands editor over Ben Roethlisberger tweet

The Washington Post has reprimanded one of its top editors over a tweet in which she criticized a column that had slammed Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Lori Montgomery, the newspaper’s business editor, got into hot water after she posted a now-deleted tweet in response to an SF Gate column that referenced Roethlisberger’s alleged rapes and bad behavior, the Wall Street Journal reported. “The only interesting thing about this column is how easily disproven and completely FoS it is,” Montgomery, who hails from the Pittsburgh area, wrote of the sports column that was published last week. In her column titled “Thank you, Ben Roethlisberger…for being a real jackass,” SF Gate writer Drew Magary had written that Roethlisberger “sucks” and that she wishes “he’d never been born.” She then listed rape allegations leveled by at least two different women against Roethlisberger as well as other accusations of “belligerent” behavior. Roethlisberger has denied any wrongdoing. The longtime quarterback for the Steelers is likely to retire at the end of this season. Magary’s column was written hours after what was widely believed to be the two-time Super Bowl winner’s final home game at Heinz Field. A Post spokesperson told the Journal that Montgomery was given a verbal warning last weekend. The newspaper is also planning to revise its social media policy once a standards editor position is filled. Montgomery’s tweet, which linked to an article by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, was panned by Twitter users and employees at her own newspaper. She then deleted it and said she regretted posting a message that made it appear she was doubting Roethlisberger’s alleged victims. That did little to quell the anger, particularly from fellow Post journalist Felicia Sonmez, who tweeted: “Respectfully, @lorimontgomery, this @drewmagary column contains facts about sexual assault allegations against Ben Roethlisberger that the Washington Post’s own story backs up.” In a subsequent tweet, Sonmez, who covers national politics for the Post, noted that Montgomery was named as a defendant in a discrimination lawsuit that she filed against the newspaper in July. Sonmez, who once accused a Los Angeles Times journalist of assaulting her in China, says she filed the suit after alleging that her employer twice barred her from covering stories about sexual assault. She alleges she was barred by the newspaper from writing about allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings. Sonmez was also placed on leave after tweeting about rape allegations against Kobe Bryant just hours after the basketball star died in a helicopter crash. The Post asked a court to dismiss the lawsuit, saying that Sonmez’s claims were “nothing more” than a campaign against its “journalistic and editorial policies.”

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