From The Washington Post:
Natasha Tynes, an award-winning Jordanian American author who lost a book deal following claims of online racism, is suing her publishing house for $13 million. The lawsuit, filed in California on Friday, alleges that Rare Bird Books breached its contract and defamed her, causing “extreme emotional distress” and destroying her reputation.
In 2018, Tynes contracted with Rare Bird to distribute her upcoming novel, “They Called Me Wyatt,” about a murdered Jordanian student whose “consciousness” inhabits a 3-year-old boy with speech delays. The book, written over four years, was set to be released this month.
That changed in May, when Tynes became the subject of a national and international news story.
On the morning of May 10, the World Bank communications officer and mother of three tweeted a photo of a black female Metro worker who was breaking the D.C. region transportation agency’s rules by eating breakfast on a train.
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“When you’re on your morning commute & see @wmata employee in UNIFORM eating on the train,” Tynes tweeted. “I thought we were not allowed to eat on the train. This is unacceptable. Hope @wmata responds,” she wrote.
By 10 a.m., less than 30 minutes later, Tynes had deleted the post and apologized for the “short-lived expression of frustration,” according to court documents. But the fuse of public outrage and ostracism had already ignited.
Tynes took the additional step of contacting the agency to ensure the employee would not be disciplined (and the complaint notes that no action was ever taken against the transit worker). Then, she spoke to Rare Bird executive Robert Jason Peterson and explained that, “having not grown up in the United States, the issue of race had not even occurred to her when she made the tweet.”
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Peterson, the filings said, reassured the writer and told her he did not blame her. “You’ll get through this, we’ve got your back,” he allegedly said to Tynes just before noon.
Hours later, Rare Bird released a statement, calling Tynes’s tweet — which it described as the policing of a black woman‘s body — “something truly horrible.”
As The Washington Post previously reported, in response to the tweet, Rare Bird announced it had decided not to distribute her book. “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,” the company announced on Twitter.
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“What Rare Bird has done to Natasha Tynes is just beyond abhorrent,” said attorney William Moran, who is representing Tynes. “I’ve never seen a publisher throw an author under the bus like this before.”
Link to the rest at The Washington Post
Here’s what Rare Bird Books says about itself:
About Rare Bird
Rare Bird is the parent company of Rare Bird Books and Rare Bird Lit, two Los Angeles-based book industry firms founded by former Book Soup marketing and publicity director Tyson Cornell. Rare Bird Books, the publishing wing, is a PGW-distributed independent publisher of approximately fifty+ books each year in multiple formats, including print, ebook, audiobook, and limited edition. Rare Bird Lit, the services wing, is a boutique marketing, promotions, and design firm specializing in book industry services for major and independent publishers, authors big and small, and other organizations.
Since being founded as a home for authors and publishers seeking new ways of publishing and marketing books that deserve to be read, Rare Bird has made a commitment to dedicating itself to being a leader in: a) developing, designing, and publishing great works that exceed the overall expectations of what just words on a page can provide; b) working with authors and publishers as a cohesive unit rather than adversarial opponents; and c) expanding the limits of what books can offer the world.
. . . .
Meet the Team
President and Publisher—Tyson Cornell oversees all aspects of publishing, acquisitions, and general business operations. He started Rare Bird after nine and a half years as marketing and publicity director at Book Soup bookstore in West Hollywood, California, working with thousands of legendary authors, and major political and cultural figures, including: Norman Mailer, Joan Didion, Gore Vidal, Lauren Bacall, John Updike, Isabel Allende, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, George H. W. Bush, Maya Angelou, Hunter S. Thompson, and over 15,000 others. He studied Ethnography at UCLA and Cal State University, Northridge, and is now approaching his eighteenth year in the book industry.
Sales and Marketing Director—Julia Callahan oversees all aspects of sales, distribution, marketing, and author relations. Prior to joining the Rare Bird team, she worked for four years as Tyson Cornell’s marketing and publicity assistant at Book Soup where she helped coordinate thousands of events each year, notably The Doors’ 40th Anniversary, Ralph Steadman, Tony Curtis, and many others. Before that, she worked as an associate at Paramount Studios on The Dr. Phil Show and Star Trek. She grew up in Santa Cruz and has a BA in English.
Editorial Director—Guy Intoci oversees all aspects of the editorial and production departments. Before joining Rare Bird in 2017, he was the editor in chief of Dzanc Books. He began his career as an editor at MacAdam/Cage Publishing after earning his degree in Creative Writing at San Francisco State University, and also served as editor in chief of MP Publishing. Over the last decade he has worked with countless authors, ranging from some of the most promising and exciting debut writers to New York Times Bestselling authors and Pulitzer Prize winners, including Kirstin Allio, Rick Bragg, Robert Coover, William Gay, Jac Jemc, Charles Johnson, Lee Martin, Josip Novakovich, Jack Pendarvis, Nic Pizzolatto, and George Singleton.
Link to the rest at Rare Bird Books
Has anybody heard of these people before? Or any of their books?