Woman in racist Central Park confrontation sues over firing

Article Image'Central Park Karen Sues Former Employer for Racial Discrimination

Cooper filed suit Tuesday in US District Court against financial services firm Franklin Templeton, CEO Jenny Johnson and unnamed employees.

In her lawsuit, Amy labeled her ex-employer, investment firm Franklin Templeton, as "racist" and said the firm lied about conducting an investigation into the Central Park incident prior to her firing.

A spokesperson for Franklin Templeton told CNN on Wednesday that the company stood by its decision.

The complaint was filed in NY federal court on Tuesday, exactly a year after Amy Cooper was caught on cellphone video in a verbal dispute with birdwatcher Christian Cooper, during which she falsely claimed to police that an "African American man" was threatening her and her dog.

In the lawsuit, she said Christian Cooper had a history of confrontations with dog owners over their animals being off-leash, and that it was his "practice and intent to cause dog owners to be fearful for their safety and the safety of their dogs".

Amy Cooper, who was promptly dubbed the "Central Park Karen" by social media users, argues in the lawsuit that Christian Cooper (hereafter referred to as "Christian" since they have the same last name) was an "overzealous birdwatcher" who was looking to scare dog owners.

Franklin Templeton responded to Amy's lawsuit by writing in an email, "We believe the circumstances of the situation speak for themselves and that the Company responded appropriately".

The suit argues that the statement, which garnered more than 200,000 "likes" on Twitter, helped perpetuate the view that Amy Cooper is a racist.


The complaint filed Tuesday to the Southern District of NY alleges that "even a perfunctory investigation" would have shown that Amy Cooper did not shout at Christian Cooper "because she was a racist", but because "she was alone in the park and frightened to death". "We will defend against these baseless claims".

The video at the center of the controversy picked up midway through Cooper's encounter with Christian Cooper and showed her calling the police to report an "African American man" who was "threatening" her in the park.

Amy Cooper is accusing the company, Franklin Templeton, of not doing an investigation before her termination because of her race and gender.

Prosecutors said the program included education about racial equality and five therapy sessions.

"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 complaint stated.

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

In the lawsuit, Amy Cooper demanded that the company compensate her for lost wages, emotional distress, attorneys fees and punitive damages, among others.

Christian Cooper told NBC News and the New York Times that he is often in the Ramble and asks for dogs to be leashed to preserve the area's environment and wildlife.

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