Amy Cooper Is Suing Her Former Employer For Discrimination

Brenda Watkins
May 27, 2021

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.

"We do not tolerate racism of any kind at Franklin Templeton", the investment firm said the day after the incident. Such perspectives would have shown that Amy Cooper was "selected as the next pet owner he would attack" and that she had reasonable fear for her safety, the suit says.

"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 was 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 lawsuit alleges.

Last May, video was posted to social media of Amy Cooper calling 911 on birdwatcher Christian Cooper, alleging to police that an "African American man" threatened her life and the life of her dog. Christian Cooper, an avid birdwatcher, was in a wooded area of the park at around 7:30 a.m., when he saw Amy Cooper's dog unleashed and running around.

Ms Cooper, who had been working as a portfolio manager at the investment firm until she was sacked in the backlash to the call, accused the company of discrimination, saying an investigation would have been done if she were not a white woman.

In her federal lawsuit, Ms Cooper said Franklin Templeton, "nurtured" the idea of the confrontation last May as "a racial flashpoint, characterised as a privileged white female "Karen" caught on video verbally abusing an African American male with no possible reason other than the colour of his skin".

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Michel also said EU leaders will discuss what he called the "unprecedented incident" on Monday during a European Council meeting. Another exhausted passenger, speaking to reporters without giving her name, said Protasevich looked "super scared".

Christian Cooper did not immediately respond to an NBC News request for comment on the lawsuit.

In a statement, Franklin Templeton told FOX Business, "We believe the circumstances of the situation speak for themselves and that the Company responded appropriately. We will defend against these baseless claims", Franklin Templeton said in a statement. NBC News does not know what happened prior to the start of the recording, which was shared by Christian Cooper's sister. He added: "I'm not sure that her one minute of poor decision-making, bad judgment and, without question, racist response necessarily has to define her completely". It said it had completed an internal review and chose to terminate her, effective immediately.

The former portfolio manager alleges that Franklin Templeton "performed no investigation" into the incident, did not interview her or Christian Cooper, and made no attempt at obtaining her full 911 call. 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.

"As a result of the Defendants' discrimination, the Plaintiff has suffered substantial loss of earnings and benefits and endured severe emotional distress, and will continue to do so in the future".

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

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