NEW YORK (Reuters) – Denouncing “racism of any kind,” a global investment firm has fired a white woman after a viral video showed her calling police to say she felt threatened by an African-American man who asked her politely to leash her dog in New York’s Central Park.
The video drew outrage on social media where it was viewed more than 30 million times, and the backlash prompted Franklin Templeton, on Tuesday to fire the woman, Amy Cooper.
“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,” the company said on Twitter.
When hours earlier the company put her on administrative leave, Cooper told WNBC she wanted to “sincerely and humbly apologize” to the man, Christian Cooper, who is no relation.
She turned over the dog to Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue Inc.
It was the latest racially tense confrontation to go viral. The U.S. Justice Department is investigating as a hate crime a black jogger’s fatal shooting by white men in Georgia and captured on video.
Melody Cooper, Christian’s sister who posted the latest video, called the dog owner a Karen, slang used to describe a middle-aged white woman perceived to be entitled.
“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,” Melody Cooper wrote.
“I’m going to call the cops,” Amy Cooper tells Christian Cooper on the video, apparently shot on Monday with a cellphone camera. “I’m going to tell them there’s an African-American man threatening my life.”
“Please tell them whatever you like,” Christian Cooper responds on the video.
Reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Howard Goller