Author Natasha Tynes faces the loss of her book deal after she tweeted a picture of a black, female D.C. Metro employee violating policy by eating breakfast on the train.
The tweet that would later come to jeopardize Tynes’ book deal read, “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. When I asked the employee about this, her response was ‘worry about yourself,'” including a picture of the employee eating breakfast.
The Metro Rail Info Twitter account responded to Tynes’ grievance almost immediately, saying, “Good morning Natasha. Thank you for catching this and helping us to make sure all Metro employees are held accountable. Can you confirm the time you were on the train, the direction you were headed and what line you were on? -KP”
Good morning Natasha. Thank you for catching this and helping us to make sure all Metro employees are held accountable. Can you confirm the time you were on the train, the direction you were headed and what line you were on? -KP
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) May 10, 2019
Tynes responded with the details asked for by Metro Rail Info, thanking them for responding.
Soon afterwards, University of New Hampshire professor Chanda Prescod-Weinstein posted a response on the thread reading, “Eating while Black.”
“That’s literally someone’s life. That’s their job you’re messing with. She was eating. Trying to live. She was commuting.” Prescod-Weinstein tweeted.
In reaction to the backlash she was receiving, Tynes began to apologize for her tweet, saying, “I apologize for a tweet I posted earlier today, which I have since deleted. I am truly sorry.”
The Unsuck DC Metro Twitter account reposted Tynes’ picture of the metro employee several times before she deleted her account. (RELATED: Cubs Have No Interest In Talking To Fan They Banned For ‘Racism’)
Huffington Post contributor Yashar Ali expressed that Tynes’ actions required a more elaborate apology. He said, “Natasha, what you did was so horrible you need to explain why you did it in paragraphs/pages. Not bullet points and certainly not a tweet. There are few graver sins in my mind than targeting someone who works in a job like that woman does.”
1. Natasha, what you did was so horrible you need to explain why you did it in paragraphs/pages. Not bullet points and certainly not a tweet. There are few graver sins in my mind than targeting someone who works in a job like that woman does. https://t.co/VG8L21Cfds https://t.co/yk51qiq6ar
— Yashar Ali ???? (@yashar) May 10, 2019
Her apology proved ineffectual. The hashtag #EatingWhileBlack began to circulate on Twitter. On Saturday, Tynes turned her twitter account private and by Sunday, her account was deactivated.
Rare Birds Books, a publishing house that was scheduled to release Tynes’ new book titled “They Called Me Wyatt,” canceled the release of the book. The company explained on Twitter that their reasoning for doing so was because Tynes “did something truly horrible” by “tweeting a picture of a metro worker eating her breakfast on the train this morning and drawing attention to her employer.”
A word from us on what happened this morning with Natasha Tynes in DC. pic.twitter.com/gJY4lZLFUQ
— Rare Bird (@rarebirdlit) May 11, 2019
Tyne’s publisher, California Coldblood, also took a step back on account of her actions, saying, “We do not condone her actions and hope Natasha learns from this experience that black women feel the effects of systemic racism the most,… We are halting all shipments from the warehouse and postponing the book’s publication date while we further discuss appropriate next steps to officially cancel the book’s publication.”
— California Coldblood (@CalifColdblood) May 11, 2019
The chief of staff for the Metro worker’s union said in a statement on Saturday that the employee in the picture was merely taking her lunch break while traveling to her next assignment and that metro employees only have “20 minutes to consume a meal and get to their next access point to ensure all buses and trains are on time, safe, and ready to serve the riding public.”
The Metro worker’s union president, Raymond Jackson, added to the statement, saying, “Let’s redirect the energy thrown at this operator toward Metro for not providing more than 20 minutes to take a meal break and a clean eating area for every employee of Metro.”
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