‘Central Park Karen’ loses appeal over firing from job

Amy Cooper, who falsely accused Black bird-watcher Christian Cooper of harassment in May 2020, has lost an appeal to get her job back

Bevan Hurley
Thursday 08 June 2023 22:09 BST
Charges against 'Central Park Karen' Amy Cooper dismissed

A woman dubbed “Central Park Karen” who was fired after she called 911 on a Black bird-watcher has lost a legal appeal to be reinstated to her job.

Amy Cooper was dismissed by investment broker Franklin Templeton after cellphone footage of her falsely accusing Christian Cooper of harassment in May 2020 was posted online and went viral.

In a 3-0 decision, a Manhattan appeals court ruled that Ms Cooper, who is white, had failed to prove that she was illegally dismissed due to her race or had been defamed by her former employer, Reuters reported.

The 25 May 2020 incident attracted global headlines after Mr Cooper asked the woman to leash her dog in a popular bird-watching area of Central Park where dogs are required to be leashed.

Ms Cooper refused, and when the situation escalated she called 911 to falsely claim that he was posing a threat to her and her dog.

She told the police dispatch that an “African American man” was threatening her and her dog.

The incident came on the same day as George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police officers, setting off a nationwide racial reckoning over racial intolerance, violence and inequity.

A day later, Ms Cooper was fired from her job as an insurance portfolio manager at Franklin Templeton.

Amy Cooper phoned 911 to complain that an “African American man” was threatening her and her dog.

She alleged in a lawsuit filed in May 2021 that Franklin Templeton’s CEO had perpetuated her image as a “privileged white female ‘Karen’”, by making public statements about firing her after conducting an investigation into the incident.

She claimed that Mr Cooper had been an “overzealous bird-watcher” and the encounter had nothing to do with race. A judge last year rejected her claims.

In July 2020, Ms Cooper was charged with falsely reporting an incident by the Manhattan district attorney. The charge was later dropped after Ms Cooper attended racial bias therapy sessions.

Christian Cooper is hosting a new television show Extraordinary Birder with Christian Cooper which premiers on National Geographic later this month.

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