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Amy Cooper, “Central Park Karen,” loses lawsuit claiming she was unfairly fired

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Amy Cooper, the white woman who became known as Central Park Karen After calling 911 to claim that she was threatened by a black bird watcher, she lost a lawsuit alleging that her former employer engaged in racist and gender-based behavior when he fired her after the incident.

U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams on Wednesday dismissed Cooper’s allegations that her employer, Franklin Templeton, unfairly fired her and defamed her. investment company Cooper was kicked out In May 2020, shortly after the widely publicized Central Park incident. The company tweeted of its termination on May 26, 2020, saying, “We do not tolerate racism of any kind.”

In May 2021, Cooper lawsuit Franklin Templeton, alleging racial and gender discrimination in terminating her employment.

The judge dismissed the allegations in a 17-page ruling on Wednesday. In the lawsuit, Cooper alleged that Franklin Templeton treated her differently from three male employees who engaged in misconduct ranging from insider trading to domestic violence. But Abrams ruled that the cases were not similar enough to establish bias, in part because Cooper herself described her incident as “international news as a racial flashpoint”.

Abrams wrote: “Cooper cannot reasonably claim that she has been subjected to ‘company-wide double standards’ only by identifying three male comparisons who engaged in some form of misconduct, but were not similarly fired.

Cooper’s attorneys did not respond to requests for comment.

In the lawsuit, Cooper said she was an “exceptional employee” at the company, where she worked from 2015 until her termination in 2020. The document said she received high-performance bonuses in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Cooper stated that her dismissal resulted in a “significant loss of earnings and benefits”. Her lawsuit argued that Franklin Templeton should grant her “late pay and bonus, loss of unearned money and other benefits, initial pay or restoration, damages for emotional distress, attorneys’ fees and costs, benefits and punitive damages in an amount to be determined in the trial.”

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Did not meet the limit of defamation

Abrams said Franklin Templeton’s comments about Cooper, such as the “we don’t tolerate racism” tweet, fell short of defamation, in part because those comments didn’t signify that they knew anything more than was actually available to the public about the encounter.

The judge wrote: “The incident received intense media and public scrutiny, in particular, because it took place” in the midst of a national reckoning of systemic racism,” noting that the Cooper incident occurred on the same day as George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis.

She added, “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 interest to the public when [Franklin Templeton’s] Tweet posted May 26.”

In a statement to CBS MoneyWatch, Franklin Templeton said, “We are pleased that the court dismissed the lawsuit. We continue to believe the company responded appropriately.”

Phone call 911

The incident was triggered by Cooper calling the police after a black birdwatcher in Central Park, Christian Cooper (who is not related to Amy Cooper), asked her to leash her dog in an area of ​​the park where it needed to be tied up.

In response, she called 911 and repeatedly recognized Christian Cooper by his race, telling the dispatcher to “send the cops immediately” and falsely accusing him of threatening her life. Christian Cooper recorded the verbal spat on the video, which quickly went viral and became part of the national debate about race during the Black Live Matter movement sparked by Floyd’s killing.

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