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Christian Cooper, Falsely Accused by a White Woman of Attacking Her While He Was Bird Watching, Is Set to Host New National Geographic TV Show

A Black man falsely accused of attacking a white woman while he was birdwatching in Central Park has now landed a TV series on a major network. After the woman called the police on him, Cooper emerged as a stand-up by not pressing charges against her for falsely accusing him of a crime.

National Geographic has greenlit a new project for Christian Cooper, who’d asked a Caucasian woman to obey the law, put her dog on a leash in New York City’s Central Park, with the woman, in turn, accusing him of attacking her.

The series will be called “Extraordinary Birder,” a show based on the Harvard graduate’s hobby. 

Providing a little insight into the show, National Geographic TV tweeted, “Lifelong birder Christian Cooper (@blackburniannyc) will take us into the wild, wonderful and unpredictable world of birds in his new show, The Extraordinary Birder.”

A press release from National Geographic states, “Whether braving stormy seas in Alaska for puffins, trekking into rainforests in Puerto Rico for parrots, or scaling a bridge in Manhattan for a peregrine falcon, he does whatever it takes to learn about these extraordinary, feathered creatures and show us the remarkable world in the sky above.”

Clips were shown ahead of Disney’s Upfront presentation in New York on Tuesday, May 17. 

Two years ago, Christian became an unintentional headline.

In May 2020, the 59-year-old bird enthusiast drew national attention after he went bird watching in Manhattan’s largest park. While watching, he encountered Amy Cooper and her unleashed dog. When he asked her to put her dog on a leash, she refused and so he instinctually decided to film the exchange after she became agitated. 

The cell phone video wound up going viral as it captured Amy Cooper falsely accusing Christian Cooper of threatening her. The then-Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance charged the woman with a third-degree misdemeanor for making a false report. Amy Cooper was fired from her job at an asset management company.

Despite the backlash she received, Christian Cooper said he didn’t want to add-on to her plight by joining the lawsuit. 

In its press release, National Geographic Global Television Networks president Courteney Monroe shared the company’s “new slate of personality-driven shows to ignite curiosity, awe, and wonder and to inspire people to explore the world.”

Monroe said, “We are thrilled to be partnering with this exciting new ensemble of National Geographic storytellers, sharing their captivating journeys with fans all around the world.” 

In addition to Cooper, the entertainment brand will debut shows by Gordon Ramsay, Mariana Van Zeller, Derek Hough, Jeff Jenkins, Kristen Kish and Indy Srinath.

“These new shows represent the very best of National Geographic and our desire to ignite people’s curiosity in our world,” Monroe said. 

A few months after the park incident Christian Cooper wrote in an editorial for The Washington Post, “I think it’s a mistake to focus on this one individual.”

He added, “The important thing the incident highlights is the long-standing, deep-seated racial bias against us black and brown folk that permeates the United States — bias that can bring horrific consequences. As with the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis later the same day I encountered Amy Cooper or just small daily cuts.”

He continued, “Cooper has already lost her job and her reputation, it’s hard to see what is to be gained by a criminal charge, aside from the upholding of principle. If her current setbacks aren’t deterrent enough to others seeking to weaponize race, it’s unlikely the threat of legal action would change that.”

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