Amy Cooper, who called 911 on Black Bird Watcher, loses lawsuit against former employer: NPR

A video of Amy Cooper calling the police on Monday went viral on a man on social media. The man says he asked Cooper to put her dog on a leash in Central Park, New York.

Christian Cooper via Facebook / Screenshot by NPR


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Christian Cooper via Facebook / Screenshot by NPR


A video of Amy Cooper calling the police on Monday went viral on a man on social media. The man says he asked Cooper to put her dog on a leash in Central Park, New York.

Christian Cooper via Facebook / Screenshot by NPR

Amy Cooper, the white woman who received widespread backlash in 2020 for calling the police over a black man watching birds in New York’s Central Park, has lost her lawsuit against the employer who fired her after the incident.

In May 2021, Cooper filed a lawsuit against her former employer, investment firm Franklin Templeton, where she worked as a portfolio manager.

“Following our internal review of the incident in Central Park yesterday, we have taken a decision to terminate the employee involved, effective immediately. We do not tolerate racism of any kind at Franklin Templeton,” the company said.

She was fired the next day after she called the police on Christian Cooper (unrelated) after he asked her to put her dog on a leash, in the part of the park where dogs are required to leash.

In her lawsuit, Amy Cooper alleges that she was fired on the basis of her race and gender, and that Franklin Templeton defamed her and caused her emotional distress.

US District Judge Ronnie Abrams dismissed Cooper’s allegations of racial discrimination, remarking that Franklin Templeton never mentioned her race in any of her statements, but made “convictions of racism.”

Amy Cooper also alleged that she was held to double standards in her job because of her gender, after three male employees were not fired following allegations of sexual harassment and internships, as well as a domestic violence conviction.

But Abrams judged Cooper and her co-workers’ circumstances, such as position, experience, and performance, would have to be identical to her assertions of sexism to be true.

“The misconduct that the plaintiff suggested comparators allegedly engaged in — spanning from plagiarism to insider trading to a felony conviction — is simply too different in kind to compare to her behavior in this case,” Abrams said.

Amy Cooper alleges that her employer did not thoroughly investigate the incident because they failed to review her 911 call or community board meeting records of Christian Cooper’s alleged previous encounters with dog owners.

But Amy Cooper never claimed the company failed to discuss its behavior with her, and her attorneys admitted that Franklin Templeton watched the video, enough to constitute an internal review, Abrams said.

“I have to commend our crisis management team, it was a holiday,” Jenny Johnson, CEO of Franklin Templeton, said in an interview with Bloomberg. “Everyone got together. We needed to take the time to get the facts. Sometimes the videos can be manipulated, so you have to make sure you check all the facts. I think the facts were uncontested in this case, and we were able to make a quick decision.”

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