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‘Dismissed’: Judge Rejects Amy Cooper’s Wrongful Termination Lawsuit Against Firm That Fired Her for Lying on Black Birdwatcher In Central Park

The white woman who made headlines in 2020 for calling the police and falsely alleging a Black man was threatening to attack her in New York City’s Central Park has lost the wrongful termination lawsuit against her former employer.

She alleged in the complaint the company defamed her when they announced her firing in the same notice as a corporate statement denunciation of racism.

Amy Cooper was placed on administrative leave and gave up her dog after she pretended she was being attacked by Christian Cooper during a 911 call. (Photo: Screenshot/Christian Cooper/Facebook)

On Wednesday, Sept. 21, U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams said Amy Cooper’s 2021 defamation case against Franklin Templeton (Franklin Resources Inc), an investment management company she used to work for, had no value, NBC News reported.

Abrams’ 17-page ruling said Cooper’s allegations were unsubstantiated.

In her lawsuit, she claimed the company intentionally defamed her when they tweeted out a message that the firm did not tolerate racism — linking that position to her termination after a video of her lying on a 911 call about a Black birdwatcher, Christian Cooper, went viral.

Christian Cooper wisely filmed Amy Cooper as she had a racialized breakdown after he asked her to obey the law and put her dog on a leash. The footage showed an obstreperous woman pretending to be attacked, elevating the pitch of her voice to translate the “African American man” had somehow placed her in danger and threatened her and her pet’s lives.

Within days off the altercation, Templeton posted on Twitter, “In response to an incident involving an employee on May 25th, Franklin Templeton issued the following statement, ‘We take these matters very seriously and we do not condone racism of any kind.’”

“While we are in the process of investigating the situation, the employee involved has been put on administrative leave,” the meme continued, referencing the reprimand of Amy Cooper.

As the backlash against Cooper increased, Templeton moved past placing her on leave and released her from their service, stating she violated the business’ code of conduct.

Cooper argued, according to Bloomberg, the encounter was integrated into “international news as a racial flashpoint” and mis-portrayed her as a woman exploiting her white-skin privilege.

The judge rejected the woman’s claim, saying she failed to prove she was termination was connected to racial and gender-based discrimination.

“The Central Park incident coincided exactly with the date of George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis, an event which similarly sparked intense discourse nationwide on issues of racial justice and policing,” Abrams wrote. “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 public knowledge when the defendants’ May 26 tweet was posted.

Abrams stated just by reviewing the video, the company did “meet a reasonable interpretation of ‘internal review’” and that “an accusation of bigotry is a protected statement of opinion, rather than a defamatory statement of fact capable of being proven true or false.”

“Plaintiff’s dissatisfaction with the adequacy of Defendants’ investigation—even if objectively warranted—is insufficient to support an inference of discrimination,” Abrams wrote in the opinion.

After the ruling, Franklin Templeton released a statement saying it was “pleased that the court has dismissed the lawsuit” and said firing Amy Cooper was the appropriate thing to do, considering her action.

The altercation between Amy Cooper and Christian Cooper happened on the same day that George Floyd was killed by Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer. Both incidents involved videos that were taken on civilian cellphones and were later uploaded to social media.

The Christian Science Monitor noted the importance of cellphone videos to document police-involved violence and acts of racism.

Criminal defense and First Amendment lawyer T. Greg Doucette believes this is what’s needed to validate people of color’s complaints about institutional racism.

He said, “The only way those folks are ever going to change their mind is to just be overwhelmed with so much evidence that they can’t really deny it anymore.”

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