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White Woman in Central Park Birdwatcher Confrontation Sues Old Employer for Racial Bias

Amy Cooper says her old employer "legitimized the story of 'Karen' vs. an innocent African American to its perceived advantage"

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What to Know

  • Amy Cooper, the woman seen in viral video falsely accusing a Black birdwatcher of threatening her and calling 911 is suing her old employer for racial discrimination
  • She was fired by holding company Franklin Templeton the day after video of the confrontation was posted to Twitter
  • In the filing, Amy Cooper also accused Christian Cooper of approaching other dog owners in the past

The white woman who was infamously caught on camera falsely accusing a Black birdwatcher of threatening her last spring in Central Park is suing her former employer for racial discrimination.

Amy Cooper is also accusing holding company Franklin Templeton of firing her without conducting a quote "legitimate investigation" after video of the altercation between her and birdwatcher Christian Cooper -- no relation -- on May 25, 2020.

"Franklin Templeton perpetuated and legitimized the story of “Karen” vs. an innocent African American to its perceived advantage, with reckless disregard for the destruction of Plaintiff’s life in the process," the filing states.

The video of that incident went viral, with more than 40 million views in less than 48 hours. Christian Cooper captured part of the exchange in a video that was posted to Twitter by his sister. The woman, later identified as Amy Cooper, is shown on video asking Christian Cooper to stop recording her, or she was going to call the cops and tell them "there's an African American man threatening my life." She repeated the statement several times, each time sounding more distressed, while appearing to call 911 dispatch.

Amy Cooper lost her job at Franklin Templeton a day after video of the incident began circulating. She apologized the following day - and was charged with filing a false police report. But those charges were dropped earlier this year.

In Wednesday's filing, Amy Cooper accuses Christian Cooper of being a quote "overzealous birdwatcher engaged in Central Park's ongoing feud between birdwatchers and dog owners" and included a statement from a Black dog walker claiming that Christian Cooper also confronted him about his dog in the Ramble.

But, the filing alleges, Franklin Templeton didn't reach out to that dog walker - or anybody else - while conducting its investigation into Amy Cooper. Instead, according to the filing, someone from the company communicated with her once on the day the video was posted.

"Even a perfunctory investigation would show that [Amy Cooper] 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 after being selected as the next target of Christian Cooper," the filing states.

Amy Cooper is seeking unspecified damages for Racal and sexual discrimination, defamation, negligence and emotional distress.

NBC New York has reached out to Franklin Templeton seeking comment. But in a statement to the New York Post, which first reported on the lawsuit, the company called Amy Cooper's claims "baseless."

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