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Author Dropped After Tweet Wants $13M From Publisher

Natasha Tynes posted a photo of a Metro worker eating on train
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 9, 2019 9:08 AM CDT
Natasha Tynes tweeted a photo of a DC Metro worker eating on a train, which she called unacceptable.   (Getty/tupungato)

(Newser) – An author who faced a social media backlash over a tweet shaming a DC Metro worker for eating on a train has sued her publisher for canceling her book deal. The $13 million suit says Rare Bird Books breached its contract and defamed Natasha Tynes, destroying her reputation, the Washington Post reports. In May, Tynes posted a photo of the worker, writing: "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." Eating on the trains is prohibited. Tynes deleted the tweet less than a half-hour later, apologized and contacted Metro to make sure the worker wouldn't be disciplined. But reaction to the tweet nonetheless was intense. The Metro worker is a black woman, and Tynes was accused of racism, per USA Today, as well as criticized for what some saw as a rude and insensitive shaming attempt.

The lawsuit says Tynes, who is Jordanian-American, she received online threats, per the Post, and was called a "terrorist," "a plane bomber," "un-American" and "a radical Muslim." There were calls to deport her. Though her publisher had reassured her, the suit says, it later issued a statement calling Tynes' tweet the "truly horrible" policing of a black woman‘s body. Tynes, who works for the World Bank, briefly returned to Jordan, the suit says, in fear for her family's safety in the US. She was hospitalized, battling anxiety and suicidal thoughts. The suit denies racist intent on her part: "Natasha has spoken out about the scourge of racism and bigotry and has been subjected to racism over the years as a result of her Jordanian heritage and her prominent accent." The novel, They Called Me Wyatt, was scheduled to be published this month. (Read more author stories.)

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