‘Karen’ fired over dog leash video
A woman who called the police on a black man in a New York park and falsely claimed he was threatening her has been stood down from her job, after vision of the bizarre interaction went viral.
On Monday morning local time, a man named Christian was in The Brambles in Central Park to bird-watch when he came across a woman with her dog.
Signs warned that dogs must be kept on leashes, but hers wasn't. And that's when the drama began.
The man asked her to leash her dog and when she refused, began filming.
The footage, posted on Twitter by the man's sister, has attracted more than 11 million views, and begins with the masked dog walker marching toward the man and demanding that he stop filming.
"Please don't come close to me," the man, who doesn't appear on camera, is heard responding several times.
She continues to ask him to stop filming - and then threatens to call 911.
When the man invites her to "please call the cops," she says: "I'm going to tell them there's an African American man threatening my life."
Oh, when Karens take a walk with their dogs off leash in the famous Bramble in NY’s Central Park, where it is clearly posted on signs that dogs MUST be leashed at all times, and someone like my brother (an avid birder) politely asks her to put her dog on the leash. pic.twitter.com/3YnzuATsDm— Melody Cooper (@melodyMcooper) May 25, 2020
"Please tell them whatever you like," he responds.
The dog walker then pulls down her mask as she gets on the phone and says: "I'm in the Bramble and an African American man with a bicycle helmet, he is recording me and threatening my dog."
She pauses before repeating that "there is an African American man. He is recording me and threatening my dog."
After another pause, the woman appears suddenly shaken up as she cries: "I'm sorry, I can't hear! I'm being threatened by a man in the Ramble, please send the cops immediately."
The man does not move from his spot while filming and throughout the clip, the woman is seen grabbing her struggling dog by a neck harness and holding a leash, which she eventually attaches to the harness. At that point, the man says "thank you" and stops filming.
Investment company Franklin Templeton, which employs the woman, has placed her on administrative leave.
"We take these matters very seriously, and we do not condone racism of any kind," it said in a statement. "While we are in the process of investigating the situation, the employee involved has been put on administrative leave."
The woman in the video was identified in reports as Amy Cooper. A screenshot of her LinkedIn account that was shared on Twitter identified her as the head of insurance investment solutions at Franklin Templeton.
Cooper later apologised for the incident in a phone interview with NBC New York.
"I sincerely and humbly apologise to everyone, especially to that man, his family," she told the network. "It was unacceptable and I humbly and fully apologise 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."
In response to an incident involving an employee on May 25th, Franklin Templeton issued the following statement. pic.twitter.com/8f2lMwK0r5— Franklin Templeton (@FTI_US) May 26, 2020
As well as racism, social media users also accused the woman of animal cruelty, as she was seen in the video grabbing and dragging the struggling dog by a neck harness.
Later Monday, Amy had returned her adopted pooch to a local animal shelter.
"As of this evening, the owner has voluntarily surrendered the dog in question to our rescue while this matter is being addressed," Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue said in a statement. "The dog is now in our rescue's care and he is safe and in good health."
This article originally appeared on the New York Post and is reproduced here with permission
Originally published as 'Karen' fired over dog leash video