A federal judge has dismissed a case brought by Amy Cooper, the infamous ‘Central Park Karen’ who called 911 on a Black birdwatcher in Central Park, against her former employer over her termination, NBC News reports.
Southern District Judge Ronnie Abrams on Wednesday (Sept 21) dismissed the suit filed by Amy Cooper, alleging that her former boss, Franklin Templeton, discriminated against her based on her race and sex, defamed her, and intentionally inflicted emotional distress.
“We are pleased that the court has dismissed the lawsuit. We continue to believe the company responded appropriately,” a representative for Franklin Templeton said in a statement.
On May 2020, the investment firm announced on social media that it was placing Amy, without mentioning her name, on administrative leave while it conducted an investigation. This was hours after the video of her encounter with a Black man named Christian Cooper – with whom she shares no relation – went viral.
A day later, Franklin Templeton announced the review had led to Amy’s termination, also without mentioning her name, but adding that the firm “does not tolerate racism of any kind.”
Christian had asked her to leash her cocker spaniel in the park, prompting Amy Cooper to call 911 and accuse the bird watcher of threatening her.
“I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life,” she said in the video while pulling out her cellphone and dialing 911.
Christian recorded the whole encounter because he wasn’t going to let himself become an active player in his ‘own dehumanization,’ he told media outlets.
“Please call the cops,” he said on the video. “Please tell them whatever you’d like.”
The video spread like wildfire and racked up millions of views after Christian’s sister posted it on Twitter in a few hours.
Oh, when Karens take a walk with their dogs off leash in the famous Bramble in NY’s Central Park, where it is clearly posted on signs that dogs MUST be leashed at all times, and someone like my brother (an avid birder) politely asks her to put her dog on the leash. pic.twitter.com/3YnzuATsDm
— Melody Cooper (@melodyMcooper) May 25, 2020
The following day, Amy Cooper publicly apologized for her actions saying she merely reacted emotionally and made a false assumption about Christian’s intentions when she should have leashed her dog.
“I was the one who was acting inappropriately by not having my dog on a leash,” she wrote. “I am well aware of the pain that misassumptions and insensitive statements about race cause. … I hope that a few mortifying seconds in a lifetime of forty years will not define me in his eyes.”
Authorities charged her with filing a false report – including a second 911 call Amy had made in which she claimed that an African-American man “tried to assault her in the Ramble area of the park.”
The charges were later dropped.
On May 5, 2021, Amy Cooper filed the lawsuit against Franklin Templeton, alleging that they ‘performed no investigation’ into the incident, didn’t interview her nor Christian, and didn’t make any attempts to acquire the 911 call.
However, on Wednesday, judge Abrams ruled that merely watching the video and holding a discussion with the firm would ‘meet a reasonable interpretation of an ‘internal review.’”
“Plaintiff may take issue with the sufficiency of Defendants’ investigation into the incident, but she has not plausibly alleged that no investigation was conducted at all. “If someone inferred that the company was calling Cooper a racist in its tweet, that would constitute “protected opinion,” the judge said.
“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 added.
Attorneys representing Cooper have not made any comments on the ruling. Amy Cooper could not be reached.