Author's Train Tweet May Cost Her a Book Deal

Natasha Tynes posted photo of worker eating on DC train, is accused of public shaming
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 12, 2019 5:00 PM CDT
Author's Train Tweet May Cost Her a Book Deal
In a file photo, riders wait to board an arriving train at the D.C. Metro Center in Washington.   (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson, File)

A writer on the verge of releasing her debut novel is facing a backlash after she posted a picture on Twitter of a public transit worker eating on a train and gave details to the woman's bosses. Natasha Tynes apologized a day later on Twitter and deleted her post before making her account private, but the publishing house distributing her novel dropped her, and her publisher delayed the release of the book. The response to Friday's post was almost immediate, with people upset that Tynes, who is Jordanian American and has called herself a minority writer, would shame a black woman and possibly cause her to lose her job, per the AP. Tynes' post showed the woman in her work uniform eating on the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority train. The authority doesn't allow drinking or eating on its trains, although officials on Wednesday had advised police officers to stop issuing tickets for those violations.

"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," Tynes wrote. When the authority's Twitter account reached out for more information, Tynes replied with the time, the train, and the direction it was traveling, the Washington Post reported. Tynes "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," Tynes' publishing house, Rare Birds Books, said as it cut ties with her. "Black women face a constant barrage of this kind of inappropriate behavior directed toward them." Tynes' publisher, California Coldblood, said it was postponing the release of her novel and may cancel it altogether. The novel, They Called Me Wyatt, is about a murdered Jordanian student.

(Read more author stories.)

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