May 27, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Amy Cooper alleges racial discrimination in lawsuit against former employer

Footage of Amy Cooper in Central Park, filmed by bird watcher Chris Cooper last Memorial Day and posted to Facebook.
Footage of Amy Cooper in Central Park, filmed by bird watcher Chris Cooper last Memorial Day and posted to Facebook. The video played on The View in May 2020. Photo: The View/Chris Cooper

Amy Cooper, a white woman who called 911 to falsely accuse a Black bird watcher of threatening her life in Central Park, has filed a lawsuit against her former employer for firing her.

Driving the news: Cooper alleges in the lawsuit against Franklin Templeton that the company didn't conduct an investigation before firing her after video of the incident went viral last May, and she claims she's a victim of racial discrimination.

Flashback: Cooper was charged for making a false report, but prosecutors later dropped the case after she "completed a therapeutic educational program that included instruction about racial biases," per the New York Times.

  • Christian Cooper, the bird watcher who filmed Cooper's response after he asked her to put her dog on a leash, told the View last year that he had accepted her apology.
  • He noted she had taken a dispute "between a birder and a dog walker" to a "very dark place" and that Cooper should "examine why and how that happened."

Zoom in: The suit, filed Tuesday night in the Southern District of New York, states: "This confrontation became international news as a racial flashpoint, characterized as a privileged white female 'Karen' caught on video verbally abusing an African American male with no possible reason other than the color of his skin."

  • Cooper alleges that Franklin Templeton "nurtured" this characterization, claiming that she called police not because she's racist but because she was fearful.

What they're saying: Franklin Templeton said in a statement to media Wednesday it would defend "these baseless claims."

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

Read the lawsuit, obtained by Law and Crime, via DocumentCloud:

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