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Last May, Amy Cooper, also known as “Central Park Karen” on social media, sued her former employer for wrongful termination.
On May 5, 2020, Christian Cooper, a Black man, was birdwatching in Central Park and came upon Amy and her unleashed cocker spaniel. He informed her that her dog was supposed to be on a leash. She became hysterical and called the police on him.
“I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life,” she told him as she pulled out her cell phone.
The video was filmed the same day then-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd.
Following the viral video backlash, the public called for Cooper’s contract of employment to be terminated. Cooper, who worked at Franklin Templeton, was subsequently let go and, in response, sued them for wrongful termination and defamation.
“Franklin Templeton’s alleged investigation and results provided legitimacy to the ‘Karen’ story, and appeared to provide justification for those who sought the destruction of the Plaintiff’s life,” Cooper’s suit claimed.
However, on Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams of the Southern District of New York sided with Cooper’s former employers, ruling that she did not present substantial evidence that the global investment firm fired her because of her race and gender.
“This argument merits little attention. None of Franklin Templeton’s public statements made any mention of Plaintiff’s race,” Abrams wrote in her opinion. “It is well-established that an accusation of bigotry is a protected statement of opinion, rather than a defamatory statement of fact capable of being proven true or false,” Abrams wrote.