Amy Cooper, the white woman known as “Central Park Karen” who went viral for calling the police on a Black bird-watcher in New York’s Central Park and lying that the man threatened her, has lost her lawsuit against her former employer.
Cooper was fired by the investment management company Franklin Templeton just days after the video went viral in May 2020. She filed a lawsuit in May 2021 claiming she was wrongfully terminated, alleging racial and gender discrimination. Cooper stated in her case that three male employees who had engaged in misconduct ranging from insider trading to domestic violence were not fired.
However, according to CBS News, a judge tossed out the lawsuit, saying the comparisons were false equivalencies and Cooper described her incident as "international news as a racial flashpoint."
The judge wrote, "The incident received heightened media and public scrutiny, in particular, because it took place 'in the midst of a national reckoning about systemic racism.” The incident happened on the day George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The judge added: "The contents of the viral video, as well as the dialogue surrounding it both in the media and on social media, were already matters of public knowledge when [Franklin Templeton's] May 26 tweet was posted."
In a statement, Franklin Templeton said, "We are pleased that the court has dismissed the lawsuit. We continue to believe the company responded appropriately.”
On May 20, 2020, Christian Cooper was bird watching in Central Park when he saw Amy Cooper with her dog untethered. He offered her dog a treat and asked her to keep the animal on a leash. Amy Cooper argued, and ultimately called 911.
In the viral video, Cooper could be heard saying, "I'm taking a picture and calling the cops. I'm going to tell them there's an African American man threatening my life."
Subsequently, Amy Cooper was charged with falsely reporting an accident in the third degree. According to Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi, that charge was dropped in February 2021 after Cooper completed five "psychoeducation and therapy" sessions.