Natasha Tynes is a Jordanian-American author whose debut novel was all set to be released. The book is about her life as a woman both in the US and in the Middle East. It talks about things like unfair treatment, rushed judgment and harassment. Tynes bills herself as a minority woman writer who speaks about the struggles minority women face.
Hold on to your horses, kiddos, because we’re about to kick the ironic hypocrisy all the way up to 10.
You’ll note we said her debut novel was all set to be released. Was. The book has been shelved in response to a tweet Natasha put out that — shockingly — was full of unfair treatment, rushed judgment and harassment.
Things started when Ms. Tynes got on the train in Washington DC. While aboard, she saw a transit employee in uniform (another minority woman) quietly eating her breakfast. As far as Natasha knew, eating wasn’t allowed on the train.
So Tynes took it upon herself to get out of her seat, cross the train car, confront the woman and question her as to why she was eating.
The employee told her to worry about herself.
This would be the point at which most people would stop and ask themselves if this really mattered. The employee wasn’t bothering anyone. The no-food rule was controversial and heavily contested (authorities once aggressively arrested and detained a 12-year-old girl for eating a single french fry) and had actually been suspended a few days prior. The employee wasn’t making a mess nor causing a scene.
Natasha Tynes, though, is not most people. Instead, she opted to snap the employee’s photo without her permission and blast the woman on Twitter.
In a now-deleted Tweet Natasha complained:
“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, of course, included the picture she took. We aren’t going to include it, but we will describe it. The image shows the employee sitting with her head down. Her food is in her lap.
She is wearing a sparkly backpack, her WMATA uniform (including hat and visibility vest) and doesn’t appear to be paying attention to anyone else. None of the other passengers in the image have taken notice of her.
Thing is… the tweet didn’t work out the way Natasha Tynes had intended.
(Spoiler Alert: It doesn’t turn out well for Tynes.)
People were quick to jump on her for trying to get an employee in trouble who was, quite literally, doing nothing wrong. As we mentioned before, the rule about eating on public transportation had been shelved a few days before this. But even if it wasn’t — is quietly eating really something you want to try and get someone in trouble for?
It struck people as particularly hypocritical since Tynes has built herself up as a minority woman here for other minority women, but she chose to make a huge deal out of a black woman just sitting around silently eating.
She didn’t just report the employee — she blasted her, picture and all, across social media after harassing her on the train. She tagged the woman’s employer in the tweet, specifically calling their attention to it and potentially endangering her employment.
That doesn’t seem very pro-minority women, does it?
The employee, who cannot speak to the media directly because of her union contract, is well aware of the tweet. It went viral over Mother’s Day Weekend, so instead of being able to enjoy her time with her children, she spent the whole weekend fielding questions and comments from friends and family, curious strangers and her employers.
Her representative explains that the woman was hurt and embarrassed, and that there’s another side to the story that Natasha Tynes never bothered to get and didn’t seem to care about.
The employee is a public transit bus operator who was moving from one station location to the next. The stations do not always have break rooms and even if they did, the operators only have an average of twenty minutes to eat, use the restroom, and get back to more passengers. The morning was already backed up and the employee knew if she stopped, she would cause all of her potential passengers to be late.
So rather than allow hundreds of people to be late, she quietly ate on her way to the next station. She wasn’t breaking any rules and was trying to be efficient for her riders, even if it meant sacrificing a break. Tynes blasted her on social media for it.
So Twitter did what Twitter does best and blasted Tynes right back.
Natasha Tynes: I TH0uGHt wE WeREnT ALl0wEd t0 eAt 0N tHe TraIN pic.twitter.com/9af4oJN9do
— Ash (@BurgundyTamale) May 11, 2019
"People of color" like Natasha Tynes is the reason why I make it a point to directly name Black people within the spectrum, because there is anti-Blackness within people of color in totality.
POC solidarity is often upheld by Black people, but not maintained by others within.
— Ernest Owens (@MrErnestOwens) May 11, 2019
The Natasha Tynes situation is a reminder that there are plenty of scumbags in minority communities that could give a shit about anyone but themselves. "Own voices" and "diversity" good enough to sell them books, but a hard-working black woman eating on a train is unforgivable?
— Angel Luis Colón (@GoshDarnMyLife) May 11, 2019
Anyways, Natasha Tynes is another example that just because you’re a person of color doesn’t mean you aren’t anti-black and can’t be a racist piece of shit. You don’t get a pass for being brown or Asian. And that’s that.
— maya 🌿🌞🌍 (@MayaRllyDidThat) May 11, 2019
The IRONY is that if Natasha Tynes had listened to the worker and minded her business, none of this would've happened. She technically warned her. pic.twitter.com/UYv3buSanK
— AKURE PHÉNIX🌙⚡️❤️ (@AkurePhenix) May 11, 2019
I don’t even live in a area with a train system yet I’m willing to bet money that most people don’t listen to the ‘don’t eat on the train’ bullshit. Natasha Tynes was just upset that someone told her to mind her own business.
— Depressed Peach // Fuck Rainbow Capitalism (@angrylesbean) May 11, 2019
Tynes deleted the tweet, issued an apology, and then deleted her Twitter account altogether.
The apology didn’t seem to help:
Oh please. You had a choice each step of the way. 1) mind your business 2) don’t speak to her 3) don’t photograph her 4) don’t snitch 5) don’t make a public social media performance of the snitching.
You chose wrong each time & your apology may not undo the harm. Sit with that.
— 🆃🆁🆄🅳🆈 (@thetrudz) May 10, 2019
I ride the same train as you every morning at the same time. I always have a coffee in my hand. Why haven’t you ever reported me to the WMATA? Or the countless others who quietly eat breakfast during their commute every day? You’ve said you’re sorry but haven’t explained *why*.
— Leo Roisman (@trexandthecity) May 11, 2019
Funny that your pinned tweet is about being a “minority” writer and using that as a basis to sell your book yet you saw another minority person eating and you wanted to ruin their livelihood. You’re a trash individual.
— Kelechi Okafor (@kelechnekoff) May 11, 2019
Tynes’s publisher and distributor offered up some harsh words.
The responses have drawn some serious attention of their own.
given that @NatashaTynes threatened a black woman’s livelihood, this is an appropriate and pleasing response.
checking our antiblackness and misogynoir is an ongoing process. we should be held accountable when we fuck up. https://t.co/BRXsVurwDG
— roslyn talusan (@rozzybox) May 11, 2019
Created an account just to give your book a 1-Star review. Since we’re being petty🤷♀️
Left a calendar reminder for June 11 to do the same on Amazon when it drops. Since we’re being petty
You are NOT an ally pic.twitter.com/Onp56CAQAp
— boog (@yo_street11) May 10, 2019
— ⚜Destination 👏🏽 Miami 👏🏽 2/2/20 ⚜ (@SheDatWeDat) May 11, 2019
Imagine being Natasha Tynes, so worried about an innocent worker minding their own business and eating breakfast on the train, that you willing sacrificed your career just to make an unnecessary tweet for some attention. Can’t relate. pic.twitter.com/04dgAIbbCw
— IJFWY (@IJFWY) May 11, 2019
The employee, thankfully, will face no repercussions for eating on the train.