Juror B37: Book Deal Killed with an Online Petition and Some Help from TwitterBy: Josh Wolford - July 16, 2013
On Monday morning, news broke that one of the jurors responsible for George Zimmerman’s acquittal was gearing up to write a book and that she already had the backing of a literary agent. Less than 24 hours later, the book deal no longer existed. Here’s how a petition and the power of Twitter combined to nip it in the bud.
Sharlene Martin of Martin Literary Management announced that one of the jurors in the George Zimmerman trial, Juror B37 (still anonymous), was planning on writing a book about her experience with Martin’s backing.
“My hope is that people will read Juror B37’s book, written with her attorney husband, and understand the commitment it takes to serve and be sequestered on a jury in a highly publicized murder trial and how important, despite one’s personal viewpoints, it is to follow the letter of the law,” said Martin.
It didn’t take Juror B37 long to start getting her message out there. She was the first of the jurors to speak publicly about the case, as she spoke to Anderson Cooper on CNN Monday night.
“I think George Zimmerman is a man whose heart was in the right place, but just got displaced by the vandalism in the neighborhoods, and wanting to catch these people so badly that he went above and beyond what he really should have done,” she told Cooper.
She also claimed to have “no doubt” that Zimmerman feared for his life before the fatal shooting to 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
All this would have surely wound up in her book, had it ever taken off. But thanks to a petition on change.org and a bunch of tweets and retweets, Juror B37 is going to at least have to postpone her venture into the literary world.
Here’s what Sharlene Martin tweeted early this morning:
Juror B37 also released a statement via Martin, saying that she “realized that the best direction..to go is away from writing any sort of book and return instead to [her] life as it was before [she] was called to sit on this jury.”
The petition has now been closed, but before that it reached over 1,300 signatures. In the realm of online petitions, that’s not really a ton of signatures. In reality, it was likely all of the Twitter buzz that forced Sharlene Martin to reconsider the book deal.
The petitioner acknowledged Twitter’s role in all of this (on Twitter, of course):
Let’s all thank Twitter for helping to kill a terrible idea before it even had a chance to blossom.