10:58 AM PDT, May 27, 2021
Amy Cooper, a white woman who was captured on video calling 911 on a Black birdwatcher, is suing her former employer for firing her over the incident.
The video of Cooper went viral last year and earned her the nickname “Central Park Karen,” which painted her as a racist and privileged White woman.
Cooper was fired from the investment firm she worked at after the incident and alleges in the federal lawsuit, filed in the Southern District of New York, that she “suffered a substantial loss of earnings and benefits and endured severe emotional distress, and will continue to do so in the future,” CBS News reported.
She alleges that the firm did not properly investigate the incident before making their decision to terminate her.
The video which was posted in May 2020 reveals Cooper threatening to call the cops and claiming that “there is an African American man threatening my life.”
The birdwatcher, Christian Cooper, who has no relation to the woman, said he pulled out the phone as just a “conflict between a dog walker and a birder,” during an interview on “CBS This Morning” with co-host Gayle King.
Christian Cooper reportedly asked her to leash her dog, a requirement in the Ramble, a wooded retreat in the middle of Central Park. When she refused and threatened to call 911, he began filming.
“Please don’t come close to me,” Christian Cooper said.
“I’m taking a picture and calling the cops,” Amy Cooper said, before explaining her plans to call the police on him.
“There is an African American man, he is recording me and threatening myself and my dog,” she said. “I’m being threatened by a man in the Ramble please send the cops immediately.”
“I don’t know whether she’s a racist or not,” Christian Cooper told Gayle King last year. “I don’t know her life. I don’t know how she lives it. That act was unmistakably racist even if she didn’t realize it in the moment.”
Shortly after the video surfaced, Amy Cooper was fired from her position at Manhattan investment firm Franklin Templeton and she temporarily surrendered her dog.
“Even a perfunctory investigation would have shown that Plaintiff did not shout at Christian Cooper or call the police from Central Park on May 25, 2020, because she is a racist — she did these things because she was alone in the park and frightened to death after being selected as the next target of Christian Cooper, an overzealous birdwatcher engaged in Central Park’s ongoing feud between birdwatchers and dog owners,” the suit said.
In response to the suit, the firm defended its decision, writing to CBS News, “We believe the circumstances of the situation speak for themselves and that the company responded appropriately. We will defend against these baseless claims.”
At the time, her employers said they do not “tolerate racism of any kind.”
After the video surfaced, Cooper apologized for acting “emotionally” and making “false assumptions about his intentions when, in fact, I was the one who was acting inappropriately.”
Federal charges against Amy Cooper were dropped after she completed therapy sessions mandated by the Manhattan DA.