Woman Who Called 911 on Birdwatcher Loses Wrongful Termination Suit

Amy Cooper, the woman who called 911 on a Black birdwatcher in Central Park in 2020, has lost the lawsuit in which she claimed her former employer unjustly fired her.

Photo Credit: Christian Cooper
Photo Credit: Christian Cooper

Amy Cooper, the woman who called 911 on a Black birdwatcher in Central Park in 2020, has lost the lawsuit in which she claimed her former employer unjustly fired her. Cooper alleged that her employer had discriminated against her based on race and gender, as well as defamed her.

Cooper became known as “Central Park Karen” after the May 25, 2020, incident. Her employer, an investment firm, put her on administrative leave hours after the video went viral. One day later, after conducting a review, the firm terminated her. It also tweeted, without naming her, ‘We do not tolerate racism of any kind.’

U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams of New York dismissed the lawsuit Wednesday, rejecting Cooper's argument that the company implicated her race by tying its “stated stance against racism” with her firing.

Judge Abrams also shot down Cooper’s claim that the company defamed her by suggesting it fired her after concluding she was racist without disclosing how it reached that determination. There’s no indication the company relied on information that wasn’t publicly known, the judge said, noting, “The incident received heightened media and public scrutiny, in particular, because it took place 'in the midst of a national reckoning about systemic racism.’”

Cooper’s incident occurred on the same day as George Floyd’s murder. In the initial incident, Cooper called 911 on Christian Cooper (they are not related) after he asked her to leash her pet in an area of Central Park where it was required. In May 2022, National Geographic announced that Christian Cooper will host a series called “Extraordinary Birder.” The former comic book writer also created a graphic novel loosely based on his experience called ‘It’s a Bird,’ which was published by DC Comics.