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'Downtown Karen' caught on cam harassing Asian-Americans, luring their dogs into traffic

The Karen has reportedly been known to target victims near South Street Seaport for a while
UPDATED JUL 16, 2021
The woman has reportedly been known to target people of Asian origin (Twitter/@Syissle)
The woman has reportedly been known to target people of Asian origin (Twitter/@Syissle)

MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY: An Asian-American man has allegedly been the target of an attack by a woman who has been dubbed "Downtown Karen" for her racist and harassing behavior. The woman allegedly asked him to go back to his country and tried to lure his dog onto oncoming traffic.

The 'Karen', who is yet to be officially identified, has reportedly been known to target victims, specifically of Asian origin, near South Street Seaport for a while. As reported by ABC New York, she was caught on camera in two separate incidents spewing racial hate.


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Andy Keung told Eyewitness News how the woman clapped her hands to lure his cockapoo Boba. While her first attempt did not work, the 58-year-old got the canine to run to her the second time. Keung said he had stopped by the heliport to adjust his pup's collar on July 3 around 9.30 am when the woman confronted him. 

"Telling me to go back to my country, take Boba back to my country... Boba and I are born and bred New Yorkers — we don't have another country to go back to so I don't know what she's talking about," Yang told the outlet, recalling how a bystander soon became involved when she heard that comment. The woman in question complained that the dog was not on a leash. In response, the bystander said, "You put it out there that you can insult someone who is of Asian descent and then instigate the dogs to run in the middle of the street because of your own principle — or whatever reason." She added, "Who are you? Leave these people alone."


The NYPD also investigated another complaint that saw a downtown dog owner share video of her encounter with the same woman on the morning of July 7. That video also had the woman yelling at the victim about her dog on the grass. "No dogs on the grass," the woman was heard saying in the footage. "Your dog is not on a leash and, oh, you can't read English apparently." Furthermore, the victim alleged that the woman spat on her, prompting a witness to intervene.

Both incidents are being investigated as potential hate crimes. "Justice is just getting the word out about 'Downtown Karen' and just notifying the community that she's harassing people," Keung told Eyewitness News.


Having said that, the latest video was first shared on Reddit, drawing mixed reactions from users. However, many appeared to agree that despite dog-leash rules, the woman's actions were problematic. “There’s a way to tell someone to put a leash on their dog. This isn’t it,” one Reddit user wrote.

“Seriously. People who don't obey leash laws are the worst. They'd have been 100% in the wrong here but this lady HAD to one-up them by being an insufferable, racist a**hole," another added. A third claimed she was “the same Karen harassing skateboarders a few times before.”

Some observers on Twitter agreed that it was, indeed, the same woman. "Wow! She’s the same woman who went viral months ago for attacking kids for skateboarding near TWC parks. Menace to society," IBM tech writer Britt King tweeted. "First skateboard Karen and now downtown Karen? She lost her job yet?" one Twitter user commented. "Now that's a woman in serious need of a mental health evaluation before she hurts someone or someone hurts her," another chimed in.




Having said that, dogs in New York City are required to be put on a leash in public or “in any open or unfenced field abutting a public place," according to NYC's Department of Sanitation. The leash must be under six feet and violators are liable to pay a fine anywhere between $200 and $400.