Writer, who lost book deal over a tweet, sues publisher
About a month after her book deal was canceled as she shamed a Black Metro worker on Twitter, Jordanian-American journalist and writer Natasha Tynes is suing her publisher, Rare Bird Lit. Inc. Tynes, who is based in Washington, had worked on her book 'They Called Me Wyatt' for four years and was awaiting its release in June. Here are all the details.
In May, Tynes tweeted a picture of a worker eating on the train, and wrote "When you're on your morning commute & see @wmata employee in UNIFORM eating on the train I thought we were not allowed to eat on the train. This is unacceptable. Hope @wmata responds." She later helped the official DC-area Metrorail Twitter account with details about the train she took.
Tynes was widely criticized for shaming the worker despite being a "minority writer" herself. She later deleted her tweet and apologized. A transit worker union official later confirmed that the female worker was taking a break while traveling from one job to another. Although eating and drinking on the train is illegal, the official noted, that it wasn't enforced by the Metro Transit police.
Meanwhile, her publisher Rare Bird condemned Tynes' tweet saying that she "did something truly horrible today in tweeting a picture of a metro worker eating her breakfast on the train this morning and drawing attention to her employer." "Black women face a constant barrage of this kind of inappropriate behavior directed toward them and a constant policing of their bodies," the statement added.
Cut to June, Tynes' lawyers have filed a lawsuit against Rare Bird Lit. Inc. in Los Angeles County Superior Court seeking $13.4 million in damages. They claimed that the publishing house breached its contract and also defamed the author. Last month, Rare Bird had canceled her book over the "truly horrible" tweet.
Tynes' lawsuit fires at Rare Bird, "an all-white company" for benefiting off the public backlash against an "immigrant woman of color." The lawsuit claims Tynes had no racist intentions as she wasn't raised in the US, hence, the issue of race didn't occur to her. It added that Tynes has faced the "scourge of racism and bigotry" and faced death threats after her tweet.
The lawsuit claimed that Tynes had to be hospitalized with "chest pain, highly elevated blood pressure" and "suicidal ideations" after her book was scrapped. She's a mother of three, who runs a household of five, by herself. Tynes' lawyers claimed she's been "falsely and maliciously accused" of racism, adding that Rare Bird knew that she restrained Washington Metro from acting on her initial complaint. These knee jerk reactions from all sides need to stop.