‘Central Park Karen’ Amy Cooper loses lawsuit against former employer who fired her for racist behaviour
NEW YORK, NEW YORK CITY: Amy Cooper, the White woman widely known as Central Park Karen, who falsely told 911 that she was threatened by a Black birdwatcher, has lost a lawsuit against her former employers over her termination.
In a decision taken on Wednesday, September 21, Southern District of New York Judge Ronnie Abrams dismissed Cooper’s lawsuit alleging that her former employer Franklin Templeton discriminated against her based on race and defamed her before unjustly firing her. The investment firm terminated Cooper from her position in May 2020, after she was shamed online for the Central Park incident that went viral thanks to the video shot by the Black man, who used it as proof that he hadn't threatened her in any way. The lawsuit was filed by Cooper back in May 2021.
“Franklin Templeton’s alleged investigation and results provided legitimacy to the ‘Karen’ story, and appeared to provide justification for those who sought the destruction of the Plaintiff’s life,” Cooper’s suit claimed. The judge dismissed all the claims made by Cooper in a 17-page ruling on Wednesday. Cooper "cannot plausibly allege that she was subjected to a 'company-wide double standard' merely by identifying three male comparators who engaged in some — other — form of misconduct, but were not similarly fired," Abrams wrote.
Abrams said the statement made by Franklin Templeton, in a tweet which reads, "we do not tolerate racism," doesn’t meet the threshold of defamation. "The incident received heightened media and public scrutiny, in particular, because it took place 'in the midst of a national reckoning about systemic racism,'" the judge wrote while noting that Cooper herself described her incident as "international news as a racial flashpoint." The Central Park incident happened with Cooper on the same day as George Floyd's murder in Minneapolis.
Responding to the judgment made by Judge Abrams, a spokesperson for Franklin Templeton said the company was pleased the judge dismissed the case. “We continue to believe the company responded appropriately,” Franklin Templeton spokeswoman Lisa Gallegos told The Washington Post in an email.
Oh, when Karens take a walk with their dogs off leash in the famous Bramble in NY’s Central Park, where it is clearly posted on signs that dogs MUST be leashed at all times, and someone like my brother (an avid birder) politely asks her to put her dog on the leash. pic.twitter.com/3YnzuATsDm— Melody Cooper (@melodyMcooper) May 25, 2020
However, Cooper’s attorneys are yet to make a comment on the judgment. Amy Cooper was branded as Central Park Karen after an incident happened on May 5, 2020. The incident sparked after a black man named Christian Cooper, who is not related to Amy, asked her to put leash on her dog as they were standing by a sign saying all dogs must be leashed. When he approached her and gave her dog some treats as a sweet gesture, Cooper started yelling and threatened to call the police on him.
She, then called 911 and repeatedly identified Christian Cooper by his race, demanding that the dispatcher "send the cops immediately" and falsely accused him of threatening her life. Christian Cooper chose to keep recording because he wasn’t going to become an active player of his “own dehumanization,” he told The Post.
The video quickly racked up millions of views after his sister posted it on Twitter. The video soon sparked a national controversy and Amy Cooper was subject to intense public outrage as mainstream media dissected her act of casual racism that put Christian Cooper in danger of police action. Following the backlash, Cooper publically apologized for her actions. Manhattan prosecutors charged Cooper in July 2020 for filing a false police report, a misdemeanor. They dropped the charge seven months later after Cooper completed therapy that included instruction on not using racial bias.