A novelist who reportedly lost her book deal after criticizing a black public transit worker in Washington, D.C., for eating their meal while working is suing her former publisher for causing “extreme emotional distress.”

Natasha Tynes, a Jordanian American author who lost her book deal for her upcoming novel, "They Called Me Wyatt," following the since-viral post on Twitter, is suing Rare Bird Books for $13 million, alleging a breach of contract and defamation, according to The Washington Post.


Tynes’s post last month about a black female Metro employee eating on a train while working went viral, drawing widespread backlash and claims of racism, prompting Rare Bird Books to pull the book deal.

"When you’re on your morning commute & see @wmata employee in UNIFORM eating on the train," Tynes wrote on Twitter. "I thought we were not allowed to eat on the train. This is unacceptable. Hope @wmata responds."

Tynes later deleted the post and called Metro in an effort to ensure the employee in question was not disciplined or fired, The Post reported, citing court documents. The Post noted that no action was taken against the employee.

Tynes then reached out to her publisher to explain the incident, and, according to the lawsuit, allegedly was reassured by Rare Bird executive Robert Jason Peterson, “we’ve got your back.”

Rare Bird announced in a statement just hours after the May 10th incident that it would not be distributing Tynes’s book, calling her tweet “something truly horrible,” and describing the tweet as the policing of a black woman‘s body.

“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 wrote at the time.

The publisher, a day later, announced plans to stop shipments of the book and postpone its publication date while taking the “appropriate next steps to officially cancel the book’s publication,” the Post reported. According to court documents, the novel's preorders were also canceled amid high presale figures.

Tynes’s lawsuit filed Friday in a California court alleges the company’s statement was defamatory.

The lawsuit also claims Tynes was later hospitalized for “an acute anxiety reaction and suicidal ideations,” and alleges that Tynes was subjected to online threats following the incident.

A Rare Birds attorney said Tynes's lawsuit was "baseless." 

"The complaint filed against Rare Bird by Natasha Tynes is baseless for a host of reasons, chief among them:  Rare Bird has never had any agreement of any kind with Ms. Tynes, nor has anyone from Rare Bird ever had any contact with her whatsoever, and Rare Bird’s statement about Ms. Tynes’ conduct was not defamatory," Rare Bird's attorney David Eisen told The Hill. 

"Ms. Tynes’ publisher, California Coldblood, arranged for Rare Bird to distribute the book. As Rare Bird has stated previously, the company could not in good conscience be affiliated in any way with Ms. Tynes’ book, given her actions on social media," he added.

-- Updated at 5:38 p.m.