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Author who lost book deal sues publisher for $13.4 million

Jordanian-American writer Natasha Tynes filed a law suit against publisher Rare Bird Lit in a Los Angeles court for $13.4 million accusing the “all-white company” of breaching its contract and defaming her after she was accused of being “anti-black” by social media users.

On May 2019, Tynes tweeted a photo of a female transit worker eating on the D.C. Metro, calling the behavior “unacceptable” and demanding that the Metro respond. The tweet was immediately met with a widespread backlash, compelling Rare Bird Lit Inc. to distance itself from Tynes and cancel her debut novel, They Called Me Wyatt.

The publisher had announced plans to halt shipments of the book and postpone the publication date while taking the “appropriate next steps to officially cancel the book’s publication.” Preorders for the novel were also canceled, even though sales had skyrocketed.