The white woman unaffectionately dubbed "Central Park Karen" on social media for her attempt to weaponize police against a Black birdwatcher had little success in her legal efforts to sue her former employer for firing her after the encounter. U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams sided with the investment firm Franklin Templeton, rejecting Amy Cooper's claim against the company on Wednesday, CBS News reported.
Cooper had accused the company of treating her more harshly than three male employees accused of misconduct, one of which involved domestic violence allegations. Abrams, however, decided that the cases were not enough alike to demonstrate bias and Cooper herself characterized her incident "as a racial flashpoint" in international news.
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Cooper "cannot plausibly allege that she was subjected to a 'company-wide double standard' merely by identifying three male comparators who engaged in some — other — form of misconduct, but were not similarly fired," Abrams decided.
Christian Cooper, who is of no relation to Amy, had only asked Amy to put her dog on a leash in keeping with Central Park rules on May 25, 2020 when she refused and instead told him she would tell police “there’s an African American man threatening my life.”
Amy, who ultimately did apologize to Christian, avoided jail time after being charged with falsely reporting an incident by participating in a “restorative justice” counseling program. “I reacted emotionally and made false assumptions about his intentions when, in fact, I was the one who was acting inappropriately by not having my dog on a leash,” Amy said in a statement.
Franklin Templeton announced the day after the incident that Amy had been fired. “We do not tolerate racism of any kind at Franklin Templeton,” the company tweeted.
It later said in a statement CBS MoneyWatch obtained that the firm is “pleased that the court has dismissed the lawsuit.”
“We continue to believe the company responded appropriately,” the firm said in the statement
Cooper accused the company of defaming her, a claim the judge also tossed out, explaining that the firm's tweet didn't equate to defamation or any revelation that was not already public.
"The incident received heightened media and public scrutiny, in particular, because it took place 'in the midst of a national reckoning about systemic racism,'" the judge opined, referencing the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis that same day. Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, causing his death.
Jenny Johnson, chief executive officer of Franklin Resources, told Bloomberg of Amy Cooper’s case in June 2020 that the facts were "undisputed" and the company was able to make a "quick decision. "We have offices in 35 countries. We have clients in over 170 countries,” Johnson said. “We really work to have both a diverse environment, and diversity means nothing if it's not an inclusive environment.”
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