Author Natasha Tynes sparked outrage on social media after she tweeted a photo of a black Metro employee eating on the train and reported the woman to her bosses. Now, Tynes may lose her book deal.
Tynes, a writer and World Bank employee in Washington, tweeted a photo Friday morning of a Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority employee in uniform eating on one of the service’s trains.
“When you’re on your morning commute & see @wmata employee in UNIFORM eating on the train,” Tynes wrote in the tweet, which she has since deleted. “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.'”
Transit officials responded to her tweet within an hour and thanked her for “catching” the employee eating and “helping” to “make sure all Metro employees are held accountable.”
The response said: “Can you confirm the time you were on the train, the direction you were headed and what line you were on?”
Tynes provided those details and added: “Thank you for responding. Appreciate it.”
The backlash began immediately. University of New Hampshire professor Chanda Prescod-Weinstein commented: “Eating while Black.”
“That’s literally someone’s life. That’s their job you’re messing with,” Prescod-Weinstein said in a tweet. “She was eating. Trying to live. She was commuting.”
Writer Roxane Gay replied to Tynes’ tweet, “We all complain on social media but you… don’t identify the person you’re complaining about, in a photo no less, and try to get them fired. What on earth? For eating on the train?”
Tynes issued an apology amid the uproar.
“I apologize for a tweet I posted earlier today, which I have since deleted,” she wrote on Twitter. “I am truly sorry.”
By early Saturday morning, she had also set her Twitter account to private. As of Sunday, the account had been deactivated.
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