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'Central Park Karen' Amy Cooper Faces Consequences For Alleged Animal Abuse and Racism

By Kristy Puchko | Social Media | May 26, 2020 |

By Kristy Puchko | Social Media | May 26, 2020 |


On Twitter three trends relate to the same story, and you can probably guess the broad strokes: #AfricanAmerican #CentralParkKaren #AmyCooper.

It began with this tweet.

Melody Cooper shared the video of her bird-watcher brother, Christian Cooper. On Monday morning in Central Park’s Ramble, he’d addressed a white woman, who refused to leash her dog. So, he filmed her rule-breaking, and she called the cops in a very Karen move. Note how her “I need to speak to your manager” tone switches to frantic when she calls 911 on the “African-American man” that she claims is threatening her life. Meanwhile, Christian Cooper doesn’t move toward her or appear to be threatening her in any way.

On his Facebook page, Christian explained what happened before the video began. He told her to leash her dog. When she didn’t, he then offered the dog a treat. He’s since noted in news interviews that he carries treats for just such events because dog owners might be cool with letting their pets off-leash despite posted rules. But they don’t like the idea of strangers giving them treats, so it usually urges the owners to leash the dog. At that point, the woman became hostile, saying, “Don’t touch my dog.” Then he began filming.

The video spread quickly on social media, and the identity of the woman was revealed: Amy Cooper, no relation to Christian and Melody.

This story sparked outrage on Twitter, with many calling Amy Cooper’s actions racist and dangerous. Here’s a sampling of the responses:

Amy Cooper was not just publicly shamed for her heinous behavior. The video’s depiction of alleged animal abuse led to her losing the dog, who was surrendered to Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue, Inc.

Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue, Inc. Facebook.png

She has also been put on administrative leave from her job as VP of Investment Solutions at Franklin Templeton. The company tweeted this news:

Amy Cooper lamented to CNN, “My entire life is being destroyed right now.” She insisted, “I’m not a racist. I did not mean to harm that man in any way.” She also said, “I think I was just scared. When you’re alone in the Ramble, you don’t know what’s happening.”

“You don’t know what’s going to happen” is exactly why Christian Cooper recorded their interaction. He told CNN, “I videotaped it because I thought it was important to document things. Unfortunately we live in an era with things like Ahmaud Arbery, where black men are seen as targets. This woman thought she could exploit that to her advantage, and I wasn’t having it.”

Ahmaud Arbery was a 25-year-old Black man who was jogging last February when he was fatally shot by two white men, Travis McMichael and Gregory McMichael. The police’s lack of movement on the murder case spurred public outcry through social media. In the case of the Coopers, both parties left the Ramble before the police arrived. No arrests were made. No summons was filed.

CNN asked Christian if he’d accept an apology from Amy Cooper. The Harvard graduate who is currently the senior biomedical editor at Health Science Communications, responded, “If it’s genuine and if she plans on keeping her dog on a leash in the Ramble going forward, then we have no issues with each other.”

Amy Cooper has since issued an apology via a phone call to NBC New York:

“I sincerely and humbly apologize to everyone, especially to that man, his family. It was unacceptable and I humbly and fully apologize to everyone who’s seen that video, everyone that’s been offended…everyone who thinks of me in a lower light and I understand why they do.

When I think about the police, I’m such a blessed person. I’ve come to realize especially today that I think of [the police] as a protection agency, and unfortunately, this has caused me to realize that there are so many people in this country that don’t have that luxury.”

Perhaps this comes from a sincere place. However, as a white woman and a New Yorker, I’m calling bullshit. In this day and age, it’s impossible—or at the very least unconscionable—to live in this city and be this oblivious to white privilege and institutional racism. This is the city of Bernie Goetz, the Central Park Five, Sean Bell, and Eric Garner, names that speak of tragedies that dominated headlines for years. White fear has long been a serious issue here that’s cost Black men their safety, their freedom, and their lives. No amount of white tears will wash that reality away.

Twitter users are not buying her apology either.

Sources: CNN, NBC, Newsweek

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Kristy Puchko is the managing editor of Pajiba. You can follow her on Twitter.

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