Amy Cooper, dubbed as the Central Park Karen on social media, is suing her former employer for unlawful dismissal. Cooper, who worked at Franklin Templeton, was removed from her job after her video accusing a black man of threatening her went viral on social media.
The video, which was shot shortly after the death of George Floyd, soon became part of the Black Lives Matter movement highlighting the discrimination being faced by black people in US.
Amy Cooper Was Fired After Video Went Viral
In the incident which occurred in May last year, Cooper called up the police and said that a black man, Christian Cooper, later identified as a bird watcher, was threatening her life.
However, the claim was later found to be false. It was learnt that Christian was at the Central Park watching birds when a woman visited the spot with her dog. As it is a rule there, Christian Cooper asked Cooper to leash her dog. But instead she threatened him of reporting him to the cops. "There is an African-American man. I am in Central Park. He is recording me and threatening myself and my dog," she told the police.
As she made the 911 call, Christian recorded the entire thing. "There's an African American man threatening my life." Cooper was heard telling 911 dispatch.
Christian later revealed that when the woman refused to leash her dog he offered to treat it so that she can put a leash on it easily. But he said that instead of that at some point, she decided to play the race card. The video, which was uploaded by Christian's sister, Melody Cooper has received over 45 million views.
Franklin Templeton Terms the Claims Baseless
In a tweet posted the next day, Franklin Templeton wrote, "Following our internal review of the incident in Central Park yesterday, we have made the decision to terminate the employee involved, effective immediately. We do not tolerate racism of any kind at Franklin Templeton."
The Guardian reported that the charges against Cooper were dropped earlier this year after she completed five therapy sessions that focused on not using racial identities "to harm ourselves or others".
The Independent reported that in her complaint filed in a federal court in New York on Tuesday, Cooper claimed that her former employer fired her without properly investigating the incident.
Claiming that the public backlash against her, coupled with the removal from the job, "caused her such severe emotional distress that she was suicidal," the lawsuit alleged. "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."
In a statement sent to the outlet, Franklin Templeton wrote: "We believe the circumstances of the situation speak for themselves and that the Company responded appropriately. We will defend against these baseless claims."