Appeals Court Has Bad News for 'Central Park Karen'

That court dismisses suit against firm that fired Amy Cooper after she called cops on Black birder
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 22, 2022 7:44 AM CDT
Updated Jun 9, 2023 8:00 AM CDT
'Central Park Karen' Suit Against Ex-Employer Dismissed
This image made from video shows Amy Cooper with her dog calling police in Central Park in New York.   (Christian Cooper via AP)
UPDATE Jun 9, 2023 8:00 AM CDT

In September, US District Judge Ronnie Abrams dismissed a suit from Amy Cooper—a white woman fired from her job after calling 911 on a Black bird-watcher in NYC's Central Park—against her former employer. On Thursday, an appeals court upheld that decision, ruling that Cooper's complaint, in which she demanded her job as an insurance portfolio manager back, isn't to be reinstated, reports the Independent. In its 3-0 decision, Manhattan's 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals said Cooper, who went viral online as "Central Park Karen," didn't offer proof that ex-employer Franklin Templeton had fired her illegally using race as a basis, or defamed her by labeling her a racist. "We continue to believe the company responded appropriately," Franklin Templeton says, per Reuters. Meanwhile, only good news for Christian Cooper, the man in the May 2020 encounter with Amy Cooper (no relation).

Sep 22, 2022 7:44 AM CDT

A woman who was fired from her job after a video of her calling the cops on a Black bird-watcher in New York City's Central Park went viral has lost her lawsuit against her former employer. Bloomberg reports that on Wednesday, US District Judge Ronnie Abrams dismissed the complaint by Amy Cooper (aka "Central Park Karen"), which claimed defamation, as well as racial and sexual discrimination, regarding the May 2020 incident. The New York Post notes that Cooper—who yelled at birder Christian Cooper (no relation) while walking her dog, then phoned police, claiming he was "threatening" her by asking her to leash her dog—was axed from her job as an insurance portfolio manager at Franklin Templeton the day after the altercation.

Cooper claimed in her suit that the company and its CEO, Jenny Johnson, fired her based on her race and gender, and that it publicized the incident on social media without even investigating what had happened. In terms of the racial discrimination claim, Abrams wrote in his ruling that Cooper's argument "merits little attention," as "none of Franklin Templeton's public statements made any mention of Plaintiff's race." Abrams similarly dismissed Cooper's sexual discrimination and defamation claims. As for the viral video of the Cooper-Cooper confrontation, and the conversation that emerged around it, Abrams didn't hold Franklin Templeton responsible for perpetuating that, noting those things "were already matters of public knowledge" by the time the company put up its own tweet. (More Central Park stories.)

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