A New York woman who was dubbed the “Central Park Karen” for an infamous outburst against Black bird watcher Christian Cooper has lost a lawsuit against her former employer, who dismissed her over the saga.
Amy Cooper had claimed in court that her former employer Franklin Templeton illegally fired her and portrayed her as racist after widespread public condemnation of a viral encounter with Mr Cooper, whom she was caught on video threatening with a 911 call.
Handing down the decision on Wednesday, District Judge Ronnie Abrams rejected Ms Cooper‘s claim that she was defamed and that Franklin Templeton, an investment firm, had advertised the dismissal on social media following the incident.
Neither was Franklin Templeton found to have unfairly fired Ms Cooper because of her race or gender, the judge said, with the company expressing on multiple occasions that it did not tolerate racism in connection with the May 2020 incident, Reuters reported.
“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,” said Mr Abrams, who added that it made the defendants’ statements “inactionable as pure opinion”.
During the encounter between Ms Cooper and Mr Cooper (not related), the dog walker was confronted by Mr Cooper for taking her dog into a protected area of Central Park, New York City, reserved for bird watching.
While pulling on her dog’s lead, she threatend to call 911 and tell police that “there’s an African-American man threatening my life”, despite Mr Cooper issuing no threat.
Mr Cooper afterwards released the video online – sparking a debate about systemic racism on the same day police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, killed George Floyd.
After reportedly receiving racism bias training, police dropped charges for filing a fake police report against Ms Cooper.
Additional reporting by Reuters