Natasha Tynes, a writer with a forthcoming novel, has been dropped by the book’s distributor after tweeting a picture criticizing a Washington D.C. Metro worker for eating on the train.
On May 10, Tynes, a Jordanian-American writer, tweeted a photo of a black Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority employee eating on the train hoping to get the woman punished: “When you’re on your morning commute & see @wmata employee in UNIFORM eating on the train,” Tynes tweeted. “I thought we were not allowed to eat on the train. This is unacceptable. Hope @wmata responds.”
Tynes says she confronted the employee, who told her to “worry about yourself.”
After backlash on Twitter, Rare Bird Books, the former distributor of Tynes novel, parted ways with the writer, according to The Washington Post:
“In response to the incident, Rare Birds Books, a publishing house that was set to distribute Tynes’s upcoming novel, “They Called Me Wyatt,” has decided not to do so. The book is about a Jordanian student who is murdered and realizes that her “consciousness” has inhabited Wyatt, a 3-year-old boy with speech delays, according to the synopsis.”
Rare Bird also encouraged her publisher, California Coldblood, to do the same. In response, California Coldblood postponed publication:
“‘We do not condone her actions and hope Natasha learns from this experience that black women feel the effects of systematic racism the most and that we have to be allies, not oppressors,’” California Coldblood said in a statement Friday. By Saturday afternoon, the publisher announced it will postpone the book’s publication date “while we further discuss appropriate next steps to officially cancel” it.”
While Metro rules do ban eating on trains, Metro Transit Police recently ordered officers to stop issuing citations for violations. Union reps for the employee say that under the new, relaxed rules, the employee wasn’t doing anything wrong. Barry Hobson, chief of staff for the Metro workers union, says the Metro worker was taking her 20-minute break to eat her meal in transit from one assignment to another. No action has been taken against the employee.
Tynes, whose LinkedIn says she is a “veteran communications expert” and “social media strategist,” has since deleted the tweet, set her account to private, and said she is “truly sorry.”