Update (May 14, 2019): The transit worker who was photographed eating on a train by writer Natasha Tynes will not face disciplinary action.
Barry Hobson, the chief of staff for Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, confirmed the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority bus operator will not get in trouble, report NBC News. The unidentified woman isn’t allowed to speak to the media due to her union contract.
Hobson also explained why the woman was eating on the train. She was on her way from one job post to another when a delay forced her to make a quick decision.
"Generally, she would have gotten to her next stop and had her breakfast," he said. "But the train was late. So she thought, 'I'm just going to throw my breakfast down now.'"
On May 8, two days before Tynes tweeted, Metro Transit Police Chief Ron Pavlik sent an email instructing officers to stop writing citations for several offenses including spitting, fare evasion and eating on the train. It appears snitching is somewhat of an epidemic in the district.
The bus driver was aware of the notice when she decided to have her breakfast, according to Buzzfeed News.
“Understanding this email, our operator clearly was doing no wrong,” the union said in a statement.
Even if there was no email, the woman would not have faced serious disciplinary action for eating on the train.
“This kind of incident wouldn’t be expected to result in more than counseling for a first offense,” said a WMATA spokesperson.
Even though the driver’s job isn’t in jeopardy, she suffered in a different way. She had no clue Tynes posted her picture until she was shown the screenshots. The woman was “humiliated” after she found out.
“She has children that go to DC public schools,” Hobson said. “She’s very embarrassed and wishes [Tynes] had not done this.”
The woman isn’t mad at Tynes for being concerned but wishes the writer would have opted for a formal complaint.
“[Tynes] tried this matter in the court of public opinion and the verdict is not going in her favor,” Hobson concluded.
Original: Author Natasha Tynes threw a Black woman under the bus during a ride on the D.C. Metro.
The writer, activist and social media lead for the World Bank tweeted a photo of a Black Washington D.C. Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (MATA) worker eating breakfast. According to WUSA 9, at 9 a.m. Friday lambasted the worker on Twitter for eating on the train.
“When you’re on your morning commute & see @wmata employee in UNIFORM eating on the train," she wrote in a now-deleted tweet. "I thought we were not allowed to eat on the train. This is unacceptable.”
According to the Jordanian-American writer's tweet, the unnamed worker responded "worry about yourself" and continued to eat her meal.
Tynes tagged the Metro Rail in her tweet. A reply from the account told her they would look into the matter. Rail riders are reportedly not allowed to eat on the train, but it isn't clear if the rule applies to workers as well.
Immediately after posting the photo, Twitter users criticized Tynes for reporting the woman to Metro Rail.
— Curious Chanda Prescod-Weinstein ????????♀️ ???????????? (@IBJIYONGI) May 10, 2019
Users pointed out Tynes' anger was not about the eating. The true bone of contention was the alleged defiance.
And it’s worth noting the issue wasn’t the food! It was this Black Woman’s refusal to bend to the demands of @NatashaTynes that brought on this post & subsequent complaint with the train company.
— LeslieMac ???? (@LeslieMac) May 10, 2019
One of the worker's defenders said the woman may have eaten on the train because of a lack of time.
. @NatashaTynes gave NO thought to the fact that sis was probably riding to the starting point of her shift and that was her only opportunity to have breakfast real quick.
Also guess what, employees for companies do sh*t customers don’t/can’t ALL THE TIME.
— Naima Cochrane’s Burner Acct (@stillnaima) May 10, 2019
Tynes' recent tweet came amid the rollout for her novel, They Called Me Wyatt. Before the social media storm, the book was set to be released June 11.
I hope you know I went out of my way to create a Goodreads account, just to give you 1 Star.
— mp (@friasmp) May 10, 2019
However, the distribution network releasing the book has announced they are seeking to cancel it due to her comments.
A word from us on what happened this morning with Natasha Tynes in DC. pic.twitter.com/gJY4lZLFUQ
— Rare Bird (@rarebirdlit) May 11, 2019
Rare Bird has asked publisher California Coldblood to also take action reprimanding the author.
Regarding Natasha Tynes' actions this morning in Washington DC: pic.twitter.com/LvBq8YoONH
— California Coldblood (@CalifColdblood) May 11, 2019
Natasha Tynes thought she was gonna get a black woman fired for eating breakfast on the train, instead her new book is being canceled by her distribution network pic.twitter.com/2IvgA9pamM
— brunch bewt black ✊???? (@moeshamitchel) May 11, 2019
Since the outcry, Tynes has set her Twitter profile to private. Additionally, the Metro Rail service has yet to issue an official statement on the employment status of the worker involved.
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