People Are Awesome: Twitter Hero Shuts Down Juror B37's Zimmerman Trial Book Deal
Don't ever underestimate what you can do when you're armed with the power of the people.
Yes, she calls herself "Cocky McSwagsalot" and describes herself as the "good girl's bad girl," but don't let that fool you into thinking that Twitter user @MoreAndAgain doesn't know how to mobilize people and fight for what's right. After hearing that juror "B37" from the George Zimmerman trial had signed a book deal less than 48 hours after the "not guilty" verdict, McSwagsalot went on a mission to shut it down.
In her Monday night appearance on Anderson Cooper 360, B37 claimed she wasn't trying to profit from writing the book—she just wanted to help people understand what being on the jury was like. Outraged Twitter users, who only weeks ago used their collective voice to call for Paula Deen being fired for her racist comments, weren't having it.
Indeed, the kill-the-book crusade started when McSwagsalot retweeted user Miss_Hellion, who'd noted, "If we can't do anything else, we can stop the publishing of that book. See:Paula Deen."
McSwagsalot quickly deduced that tracking down the literary agent was key:
We just gotta find out her name and the publisher. But, we can stop that book.— Cocky McSwagsalot (@MoreAndAgain) July 16, 2013\n
Once McSwagsalot found out that B37 had been signed by Martin Literary Management, she tweeted:
Only thing I can think to do is flood Sharlene Martin's phone, email, and snail mail, w/ requests that she drop juror B37. That sound good?— Cocky McSwagsalot (@MoreAndAgain) July 16, 2013\n
And then she researched and tweeted the address of Martin Literary Management along with Sharlene Martin's email. But the heat really amped up after this:
FOUND HER TWITTER!!! @sharlenemartin is the literary agent for juror B37.— Cocky McSwagsalot (@MoreAndAgain) July 16, 2013\n
This got dozens of retweets:
Hey, @sharlenemartin, please drop juror B37. Do not help the person who let a murderer get away profit from this tragedy.— Cocky McSwagsalot (@MoreAndAgain) July 16, 2013\n
And McSwagsalot was very clear with her intentions:
This is only the beginning. I, personally, won't ease up until you are no longer the literary agent for B37. @sharlenemartin— Cocky McSwagsalot (@MoreAndAgain) July 16, 2013\n
After that, McSwagsalot started a petiton on Change.org, which had a straightforward request, "Please don't allow this person to profit off of the injustice that they've served to the American public." She tweeted it to her followers, who eagerly retweeted it to theirs.
After 1,346 signatures on the petition, and countless tweets, Sharlene Martin sent McSwagsalot a statement: "After careful consideration regarding the proposed book project with Zimmerman Juror B37, I have decided to rescind my offer of representation in the exploration of a book based upon this case. All best, Sharlene Martin Martin Literary Management." Martin also tweeted it and sent it to the AP.
After careful consideration of the book project with Zimmerman #JurorB37, I have decided to rescind my offer of representation.— sharlene martin (@sharlenemartin) July 16, 2013\n
No representation, no book? Juror B37 released a statement saying, "I have realized that the best direction for me to go is away from writing any sort of book and return instead to my life as it was before I was called to sit on this jury."
For McSwagsalot, it was a moment of sheer triumph.
Juro B37's book is nixed and Questlove tweeted me. I'm over the moon. Today is canceled. LMAO— Cocky McSwagsalot (@MoreAndAgain) July 16, 2013\n
I went from feeling incredibly helpless about Zimmerman's verdict, to being overwhelmed with joy. Thank you all for your signatures and RT's— Cocky McSwagsalot (@MoreAndAgain) July 16, 2013\n
In the days since Zimmerman was found not guilty, many Americans have felt that same helplessness. McSwagsalot's example shows us what can happen when we take action and inspire others to do the same. As McSwagsalot tweeted one of her followers, "If this has taught me anything, it's to not underestimate what we can do."
Click here to add telling the Department of Justice to open a civil rights case against George Zimmerman to your GOOD "to-do" list.