Amy Cooper, affectionally called “Central Park Karen” on social media, is suing her former employer for wrongful termination.
Ms. Cooper went viral last year after being caught on camera calling the police on a Black bird-watcher in Central Park.
Ms. Cooper was walking her dog in May of last year while Christian Cooper (no relation) was bird-watching at a wooded area of the park called the Ramble. Her dog was not on a leash. Mr. Cooper then approached her to inform her that she was in violation of the park’s rules.
She then became hysterical after realizing that Mr. Cooper was recording their interaction, called the cops and alleged that he had threatened her and her dog — which he had not.
Ms. Cooper, who worked at investment firm Franklin Templeton, was swiftly given the boot by the company.
“We have made the decision to terminate the employee involved,” Franklin Templeton wrote on its official Twitter account, adding, “We do not tolerate racism of any kind.”
Ms. Cooper had faced up to a year in prison on the charge of falsely reporting an incident in the third degree. The judge granted Manhattan prosecutors’ request to dismiss the case after she attended a racial bias program. The program included five therapy sessions “designed for introspection and progress.”
According to the lawsuit, she claims she “did not shout at Christian Cooper or call the police from Central Park on May 25, 2020, because she was a racist — she did these things because she was alone in the park and frightened to death.” She adds that Mr. Cooper had selected her as a “target” and characterizes him as “overzealous.”
Ms. Cooper accuses Franklin Templeton of not thoroughly investigating the incident because she is a white woman.
She is seeking “back pay and bonus, loss of unvested funds and other benefits, front pay or reinstatements, emotional distress damages, attorneys’ fees and costs, and interest and punitive damages in an amount to be determined at trial.”
Franklin Templeton looks forward to their day in court.
“We believe the circumstances of the situation speak for themselves and that the company responded appropriately,” spokeswoman, Stacey Coleman, said. “We will defend against these baseless claims.”