The egregious most recent addition to the growing number of “Karen” videos showing white women trying to criminalize law-abiding Black people during the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in swift justice as the person holding the camera offered a timely reference to Ahmaud Arbery for why he was so quick to record her.
Amy Cooper was identified as the “Karen” who on Monday appeared to be feigning mortal fear from a Black man who simply asked her to comply with New York City law and put her dog on a leash in a portion of Central Park where bird-watching is popular. “Karen” responded to the request from Christian Cooper (obviously no relation) by calling the police while clumsily putting a leash on her dog, which the video showed being dragged, lifted and possibly choked by the tether.
She appeared to be more concerned with putting an innocent Black man in the criminal justice system than she did with following the law, let alone her dog’s welfare. It was a moment of racist irony at its worst.
“Will you please stop? Sir, I’m asking you to stop,” Karen told Christian Cooper while dragging her dog, whose paws are lifted off the ground briefly.
“Pease don’t come close to me,” Christian Cooper says urgently as Karen — who was at least wearing a mask while advancing and pointing aggressively — threatened to violate social distancing guidelines in addition to possibly abusing her pet and ignoring signs posted that dogs must be on a leash.
Karen then, of course, resorts to the familiar go-to move for distressed white women in the presence of Black men and said she would “call the cops,” something that Christian Cooper quickly encouraged her to do.
“I’m gonna tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life,” Karen says almost triumphantly in a moment where she apparently realizes she still may have the upper hand in a situation she was to blame for but refused to be put in her place by a Black man. She seemed to emit an aura of pride when she went to make the call.
Watch the video below of the unfortunate encounter on the Memorial Day holiday.
After the video was posted to special media by Christian Cooper’s sister, who filmed the incident, Karen surely quickly regretted her explicit bias against a man who made a reasonable request.
The sleuthing internet got to work and promptly found Karen’s LinkedIn page, which identified Amy Cooper as the head of insurance investments at Franklin Templeton, an international asset management company. After public pressure was placed on the company to fire her, it responded in part by tweeting Monday night that Karen had been suspended.
Probably realizing that she could join the 20 million Americans who are unemployed during the pandemic, Karen told NBC New York how sorry she was for weaponizing her white privilege.
“I sincerely and humbly apologize to everyone, especially to that man, his family,” Amy “Karen” Cooper said when the network reached her by phone. “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.” She went on to call herself “a blessed person” who said it was only Monday when she realized “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.”
The prospects of losing a job that Glass Door estimates to have a base annual salary of about $162,000 was compounded by the fact that Karen also “voluntarily surrendered” her dog to a local animal rescue that was concerned for her pet’s safety after seeing the video that had been viewed more than 14 million times as of early Tuesday morning.
Christian Cooper said that he was aware enough to begin recording in part because of the high profile case of Ahmaud Arbery, the Black jogger in Georgia who was killed by vigilante white men incorrectly racially profiling him as a criminal. Central Park also served as the backdrop of the infamous Central Park jogger case that resulted in delayed justice for a group of Black and brown young men who would ultimately emerge as the Exonerated Five.
“We live in an age of Ahmaud Arbery where black men are gunned down because of assumptions people make about black men, black people, and I’m just not going to participate in that,” Christian Cooper told NBC New York.