Central Park Karen: UW’s most infamous alumna

Graphic by Candice Cheng

On Monday, May 25, 2020, Amy Cooper was walking her dog in New York City’s Central Park, in an area called the Rambles. Meanwhile, Christian Cooper (no relation) was birdwatching and happened to notice Amy unleashing her dog in an area where dogs must be leashed. 

Despite the park’s rules, Amy did not have a leash on her dog, which Christian reminded her to have. The dispute quickly escalated when Christian began recording their encounter. 

Not soon after, Amy decided to call the police, stating that there was an “African American man threatening her life.” The video shows Amy on the phone with the police, all the while restraining her dog, who appears to be struggling to be set free. 

Since then, Amy Cooper has released an apology in an interview with CNN.

“I’m not racist. I did not mean to harm that man in any way,” she said. 

“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,” she added in an interview with NBC 4 New York.

Christian Cooper told CNN in an interview that he had accepted her apology.

“I think her apology is sincere…I’m not sure that in that apology she recognizes that while she may not be or consider herself a racist, that particular act was definitely racist,” Christian said.

Amy Cooper is a Canadian from Ontario who graduated from the University of Waterloo in 2003. UW has since released its own statement regarding the issue.

“Canada and the University of Waterloo are not immune to racism and the ills that stem from this toxic world view. I was saddened and shocked to hear that someone who once attended our University became part of the problem with a recent incident in New York City,” Feridun Hamdullahpur, president of UW, said.

“In the face of racist remarks made by individuals in our own community – that the University of Waterloo condemns racism in all its forms…There is no room in our community for prejudice or hate of any kind. This is a University where we all belong,” Hamdullahpur added.

On Tuesday, May 26, 2020, Franklin Templeton announced on Twitter that they have terminated Amy Cooper, effective immediately.

Following our internal review of the incident in Central Park yesterday, we have made the decision to terminate the employee involved, effective immediately. We do not tolerate racism of any kind at Franklin Templeton,” the company wrote. It was also reported that her dog was forced to be returned to the shelter Abandoned Angels. However, more recent reports state that her dog was returned with the owner’s request.   


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