Woman who falsely accused Black bird watcher sues ex-employer


Amy Cooper - the white woman branded Central Park Karen after calling the police on a Black birdwatcher, Christian Cooper, a year ago - is suing her employer for false dismissal, due to the so-called "discrimination" she faces as a white woman.

"We do not tolerate racism of any kind at Franklin Templeton", the investment firm said the day after the incident.

The confrontation between Cooper and the man, Christian Cooper, who is not related to her, began over her dog being unleashed in a section of the park where that was prohibited. She was charged last July with filing a false police report, but the charges were dropped after she got therapy, including instruction on avoiding racist bias.

The following day, Amy Cooper was sacked from her job at the Franklin Templeton investment firm. The man, a prominent birder and LGBTQ activist, said he asked her to put a leash on her dog in an area of New York's Central Park known as the Ramble, which requires dogs to be restrained.

"Franklin Templeton would have known that if [they] had performed the investigation it told the public it had conducted", her lawsuit read.

Amy Cooper's lawsuit states that said she did not call the police because she was racist, but "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".

"We believe the circumstances of the situation speak for themselves and that the company responded appropriately".

Franklin Templeton characterized the lawsuit's claims as "baseless" in a statement Wednesday and plans to defend itself.

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Had the company obtained a record of the New York City Park Board Meetings from prior to the incident, the suit claims, it would have shown that Christian Cooper had previously gotten into an altercation with another dog walker while he was birdwatching in the park, according to the suit. "Franklin Templeton would have conducted a proper investigation before firing her if she was of a different race or a different gender".

The encounter escalated, with Amy Cooper warning him that she would call police and tell them there was an African American man threatening her life. "And I understand why they do", she said.

"I am one of the few male African-Americans who birds the Ramble regularly", Mr Cooper told The New York Times at the time. Hours after the video went online, Franklin Templeton posted a statement on Twitter condemning racism and saying she had been suspended while the firm investigated. She alleged her former employer instigated it by announcing to "millions of people" that their investigation "determined indisputably that Plaintiff was a racist, and that due to the results of their legitimate investigation, the Plaintiff's employment with the Defendants was terminated".

Cooper alleges in Tuesday's suit that no such internal review took place.

Following the incident, Ms Cooper apologized, though then as now, she downplayed the racist dynamics at play in the incident.

She claims the company's actions have "caused her such severe emotional distress that she was suicidal".

She's seeking unspecified damages for defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence - and racial discrimination.