Writer May Lose Book Deal Over Tweet Shaming Black Transit Worker

Natasha Tynes (Credit: Twitter)

A writer preparing for the release of her first book has been dropped by a publishing house after she tweeted a picture of an African-American transit worker eating on a Washington, D.C. Metro train.

Natasha Tynes, a writer and communications officer for the World Bank in Washington, posted the picture Friday showing a black woman in her work uniform eating on a Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority train. Metro doesn’t allow drinking or eating on its subways and buses.

“This is unacceptable,” Tynes tweeted, according to a screenshot grabbed by The Washington Post. Tynes tagged Metro in the tweet, adding: “Hope @wmata responds. When I asked the employee about this, her response was ‘worry about yourself.’”

Following her attempt at shaming the female transit worker, Tynes was shamed herself. Social media users blasted the Jordanian American author and branded her a “subway snitch” for trying to get someone fired from their job.

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After facing intense backlash, Tynes deleted her post, tweeted an apology and made her account private. But the damage was done. The publishing house that planned to distribute Tynes’ book slammed her “truly horrible” actions.

“Black women face a constant barrage of this kind of inappropriate behavior directed toward them and a constant policing of their bodies,” Rare Bird Books said in a statement on Twitter. “We think this is unacceptable and have no desire to be involved with anyone who thinks it’s acceptable to jeopardize a person’s safety and employment in this way.”

Rare Bird also urged Tynes’ publisher, California Coldblood, to drop her.

The publisher said Friday on social media that it hopes the writer “learns” from the incident.

“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 followup tweet, the company said it was “halting all shipments” of the book “while we further discuss appropriate next steps to officially cancel.”