Amy Cooper sues former employer for branding her ‘racist’
“We will defend against these baseless claims,” Franklin Templeton stated.
Amy Cooper, the white woman dubbed Central Park Karen after she called the police on a Black birdwatcher whom she clashed with while walking her dog in Central Park last May, is back in the headlines for suing her former employer.
As theGRIO reported, Franklin Templeton, an investment company that employed Cooper as head of Insurance Investment Solutions, terminated her last spring after she went viral for falsely accusing a Black man of threatening her. In their statement, the firm stated that they had no tolerance for racism.
Cooper went viral after a video showed her encounter with Christian Cooper, no relation to Amy, who was out bird-watching in an area of the park called “The Ramble.” According to the Central Park website, The Ramble is often noted for its bird watching opportunities, where birdwatchers can catch a glimpse of some of the approximately 230 species found in the woods.
Cooper refused to put her dog on a leash and Christian began to film the encounter. Amy demanded that he stop filming or else she’d call the police and falsely tell them that a Black man was threatening her life — and she made good on her threat.
“There’s a man, an African American, he’s recording and threatening me and my dog,” she told the 911 operator. “There is an African American man in Central Park. He is recording me and threatening myself and my dog.”
Franklin Templeton initially placed Cooper on administrative leave following her actions on Memorial Day weekend. Cooper alleges in her lawsuit that the company falsely claimed it conducted an investigation before firing her, according to a complaint filed in federal court in Manhattan.
She also accuses Franklin Templeton of characterizing her as a “racist” for calling the police on Christian, who she says has a history of “aggressively confronting” dog owners for walking their pets off-leash. She argues in her complaint that his actions on that fateful day caused her “to reasonably fear” for her safety.
Cooper’s lawsuit, per law.com, accuses the investment firm of fueling a public perception that she is “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.” Her complaint alleges that Franklin Templeton defamed her, discriminated against her, and inflicted emotional distress. Her legal team wants the court to decide the amount she should be compensated for the damages caused.
“We believe the circumstances of the situation speak for themselves and that the Company responded appropriately,” Franklin Templeton told Bloomberg Law on Wednesday in an email. “We will defend against these baseless claims.”
The suit also takes aim at Franklin Templeton Investments, Franklin Templeton Resources Inc., CEO Jenny Johnson, and several unnamed parties as defendants, according to the report.
Meanwhile, the misdemeanor charges that were filed against Amy Cooper for falsely accusing Christian Cooper of “threatening” her were dismissed earlier this year.
According to reports, Cooper was pardoned after she completed a handful of therapy sessions. She faced up to a year in prison on a charge of falsely reporting an incident in the third degree. However, as theGRIO reported, at a brief virtual hearing in February, Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon confirmed that Cooper had completed five therapy sessions “designed for introspection and progress.”
*theGRIO’s Stephanie Guerilus and Blue Telusma contributed to this report.
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