‘Central Park Karen’ Amy Cooper sues ex-employer for racial discrimination

NYC woman in Central Park bird watcher incident sues former employer Franklin Templeton over firing

Amy Cooper, who went viral and became known as "Central Park Karen" previous year after she called NY police and falsely reported a Black birdwatcher was threatening her life, is suing her former employer, arguing they fired her without properly investigating the incident.

The next day, Tuesday, May 26, 2020, Franklin Templeton tweeted that it had terminated Amy Cooper's employment.

Her suit argues that she did not call the cops on Christian because she is "racist" - but rather because the "overzealous birdwatcher" selected her as a "target" in a feud between bird and dog lovers.

Much of the incident was captured on video by Christian Cooper, who is not related to Amy Cooper, after he said he asked her to put a leash on her dog to comply with the rules in that area of the park.

Prosecutors in Manhattan criminally charged Cooper last summer with falsely reporting an incident in the third degree, but later agreed to dismiss the charge after she completed a five-session therapeutic educational program that included a racial bias component.

The ground for Cooper's dismissal is her racist incident from May 2020. Amy Cooper called the police during a videotaped dispute with Christian Cooper, a Black man, to claim he was threatening her.

"Franklin Templeton would have known that if [they] had performed the investigation it told the public it had conducted", her lawsuit read. Following Cooper's termination, Franklin Templeton CEO Jenny Johnson told Fortune Magazine that the company executives "espouse zero tolerance for racism".

"We believe the circumstances of the situation speak for themselves and that the Company responded appropriately", a spokesperson said.

Belarus isolation grows as Europe cuts air links over diverted plane
President Joe Biden applauded European Union sanctions and said he ordered his administration to hold Belarus accountable. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the video made for "distressing viewing" and Belarus would face consequences.

© Christian Cooper via AP, FILE In this May 25, 2020 file photo, made from video provided by Christian Cooper, Amy Cooper talks with Christian Cooper in Central Park in NY. "We will defend against these baseless claims", the company said in the statement.

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.

"I am well aware of the pain that misassumptions and insensitive statements about race cause and would never have imagined that I would be involved in the type of incident that occurred with Chris", she said in a statement at the time.

The lawsuit alleges that Franklin Templeton "perpetuated and legitimized the story of "Karen" vs.an innocent African American to its perceived advantage, with reckless disregard for the destruction of Plaintiff's life in the process" and charges that the company would not have fired her if she were a different race and gender.

He said he was uncomfortable with the mass outrage directed at Ms Cooper, adding to the Times, "If our goal is to change the underlying factors, I am not sure that this young woman having her life completely torn apart serves that goal". 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.

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

The lawsuit is seeking damages for loss of wages, bonus and unvested funds as well as emotional distress damages for alleged racial and gender discrimination, defamation and negligence, among other counts, in an amount to be determined at trial.

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