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Amy Cooper (AKA Central Park Karen)
Via Twitter/@melodyMcooper

OG ‘Karen’ sues ex-employer for discriminating against her as a white woman

Cop-caller Amy Cooper (AKA Central Park Karen) alleges that she was falsely dismissed after an outburst against a Black birdwatcher in 2020

Amy Cooper — the white woman branded Central Park Karen after calling the police on a Black birdwatcher, Christian Cooper, last year — is suing her employer for false dismissal, due to the so-called “discrimination” she faces as a white woman.

Prompted by Christian Cooper’s request to put her dog on a leash in the Ramble (a section of the park in which unleashed dogs are not permitted), Amy Cooper’s outburst in the New York City park was captured in a viral video, first published on May 25, 2020. In a call to police, she can be heard falsely claiming that there was “an African American man threatening (her) life”.

Partly inspiring the widespread Karen meme — which has put the name on the verge of extinction — the video also became emblematic of how not to be a good ally in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests that rocked the country that same month.

However, in a complaint filed on Tuesday (May 25, 2021), Amy Cooper alleges that she herself is the subject of race and gender discrimination, and is now seeking unspecified damages for her dismissal from the financial advisory firm Franklin Templeton, which she says took place without a proper investigation. 

The complaint, obtained by Reuters, adds that the company’s actions — which are also said to include defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligence — “caused her such severe emotional distress that she was suicidal”.

Franklin Templeton fired Amy Cooper the day after Christian Cooper posted the infamous video to Facebook (where it has been viewed more than 45 million times). She was also later charged with filing a false police report.

Charges against Amy Cooper were subsequently dropped, after she attended a therapy course that focused on discouraging the use of racial identities “to harm ourselves or others”. 

Christian Cooper had already refused to take part in her prosecution at that time, saying in a Washington Post article: “I think it’s a mistake to focus on this one individual. The important thing the incident highlights is the longstanding, deep-seated racial bias against us Black and brown folk that permeates the United States.”