A woman labeled “Central Park Karen” lost a lawsuit against Franklin Resources Inc. in which she claimed her former employer unfairly branded her as a racist and fired her after she was caught on video confronting and calling the police on a Black birdwatcher.
Amy Cooper sued the company, which is more widely known as Franklin Templeton, in May 2021, claiming it publicized the incident on Twitter and falsely claimed it conducted an investigation before firing her.
U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams on Wednesday threw out the lawsuit, rejecting her claims of racial and sexual discrimination and defamation.
A video posted on Twitter in 2020 by the sister of birdwatcher Christian Cooper — no relation to Amy — showed the woman calling 911, complaining an African-American man was threatening her and her dog.
Amy Cooper made the call after Christian Cooper asked her to leash her dog in Central Park. The video went viral, with more than 40 million views, during a national discourse on systemic racism.
Cooper argued the encounter became “international news as a racial flashpoint” and misportrayed her as a privileged White woman because Franklin Templeton cited the incident on Twitter. But the judge rejected the claim.
“The Central Park incident coincided exactly with the date of George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis, an event which similarly sparked intense discourse nationwide on issues of racial justice and policing,” Abrams wrote. “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 when defendants’ May 26 tweet was posted.”