Amy Cooper, the white woman who became known asAfter calling 911 to claim a black birder had threatened her, she lost a lawsuit alleging her former employer had engaged in racist and sexist behavior when he fired her after the incident.
US District Judge Ronnie Abrams on Wednesday rejected Cooper’s claims that employer Franklin Templeton had wrongfully fired her and defamed her. investment companyin May 2020, shortly after the widely publicized Central Park incident. The firm tweeted about his firing on May 26, 2020, saying, “We do not tolerate racism of any kind.”
In May 2021, CooperFranklin Templeton, alleging racial and gender discrimination in his firing.
The judge rejected those claims in a 17-page ruling on Wednesday. In the lawsuit, Cooper had claimed that Franklin Templeton had treated her differently from three male employees who had engaged in misconduct ranging from insider trading to domestic violence. But Abrams ruled that the cases were not similar enough to show bias, in part because Cooper herself described her own incident as “international news as a racial flashpoint.”
Cooper “cannot plausibly claim that she was subjected to ‘company-wide double standards’ simply by identifying three men who engaged in some other form of misconduct, but who were not similarly terminated,” Abrams wrote.
Cooper’s attorneys did not respond to requests for comment.
In her lawsuit, Cooper said she had been “an exceptional employee” at the company, where she worked from 2015 until she was fired in 2020. The document said she had earned high-performance bonuses in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Cooper stated that his firing had caused a “substantial loss of income and benefits.” His claim argued that Franklin Templeton should provide him with “back pay and bonus, loss of unvested funds and other benefits, down payment or reinstatement, damages for emotional distress, attorneys’ fees and costs, and interest and punitive damages in an amount to be determined in Test.”
Did not meet the threshold for defamation
Abrams said that Franklin Templeton’s statements about Cooper, such as his tweet that “we do not tolerate racism,” did not meet the threshold of defamation, in part because those comments did not imply that they knew anything more than what was already available to him. public about the meeting.
“The incident received heightened public and media scrutiny, particularly because it took place ‘in the midst of a national reckoning over systemic racism,'” the judge wrote, noting that Cooper’s incident occurred on the same day as the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. .
He added that “the contents of the viral video, as well as the dialogue that surrounds it both in the media and on social networks, were already public knowledge when [Franklin Templeton’s] May 26 tweet posted.”
In a statement to CBS MoneyWatch, Franklin Templeton said: “We are pleased that the court has dismissed the lawsuit. We continue to believe that the company responded appropriately.”
911 phone call
The incident was sparked by Cooper’s call to police after a black birder in Central Park, Christian Cooper (no relation to Amy Cooper), asked him to leash his dog in an area of the park where it was found. requires leash.
In response, he called 911 and repeatedly identified Christian Cooper by his race, demanding that the dispatcher “send the police immediately” and falsely accusing him of threatening his life. Christian Cooper recorded the verbal dispute on video, which went viral and became part of the national discussion about race during the Black Live Matter movement sparked by Floyd’s murder.