The Gay Black Birdman Bully of Central Park

The feast day of St. George Floyd, Holy Martyr, passed on May 25 without much  commemoration in the news media. Actually I didn’t see any commemoration at all—unless you count James Fulford’s mention of him in his Memorial Day piece. But I did come across something much better in the New York Times. (I’ll link it down below.)

You may remember the “Central Park Karen” incident. That was also May 25, 2020. But early in the day. It dominated news and social media even more than the George Floyd story did. It certainly contributed to the BLM riots that broke out soon after. To refresh your memory, here’s the typical news spin we got:

A white woman was walking her dog, off-leash, in a hilly wooded area of New York’s Central Park, called The Ramble. A large black man came from behind a bush and yelled at her to leash the dog. The woman was terrified, and took out her mobile phone to call for help. She said she would tell the dispatcher an “African American man” was threatening her and her dog. The “African American man” videoed some of this, sent it to his sister, and it soon went viral on social media. The woman was thenceforth denounced as “Racist Central Park Karen.” A couple of days later she was terminated from her job as insurance portfolio manager at Franklin Templeton.

In short order the news media began to inform us that this large black man was some kind of local hero. He’s a birdwatcher. He’s a Harvard graduate in his late fifties. He used to write for Marvel Comics. He’s even gay! (Coincidentally or not, The Ramble is a famous cruising area in the Park.) Christian Cooper is his name, and National Geographic television has given him his very own birdwatching show, due to premiere in mid-June.

And it gets better. He’s just published a book at Random House, Better Living Through Birding, in which he tells of his lifelong passion for his fine feathered friends, and his struggles with being gay and black, and his encounters with Central Park Karen and other exponents of racism. He even compares himself to Emmett Till, that martyred harasser of white women.

Mr. Cooper treated us to a short-form version of his life story on May 26 in the New York Times. (May 28, print edition.) He tells us how he wasn’t happy about that May 25, 2020 encounter…but he’s glad it led to his getting a TV show. He now finds himself “living an absolute dream.”

But as you’ve probably guessed by now, Christian Cooper is no hero. He’s a bully and serial harasser. He even writes in his book that he still harasses white women with dogs—and videos them. And though it may not be in the book, he also harasses and threatens white men with dogs. And black men with dogs. There are several reports of physical altercations. One of them was with a 30-year-old black man—Mr. Cooper is an equal-opportunity bully—who gave a statement to NBC News after the ‘Karen’ story broke. That was three years ago. NBC asked for the testimony, but they’ve been sitting on it ever since.

This statement is quite an eye-opener. It turns out Mr. Cooper’s modus operandi was the quite the same with this young black dog-owner as it was with “Central Park Karen.” When Mr. Cooper sees an unleashed dog in a leash-only area, he chases down the owner, acts in a threatening manner, and then takes doggie treats out of his pocket—presumably drug-laced if not actually poisoned—and goes, “Here, doggy!”

After the “Karen” encounter, he even bragged about it on Facebook. As we read in the statement to NBC News, Mr. Cooper said he told her, “you’re not gonna like what I’m going to do next.” As our testifier comments in his statement:

That’s a threat. And she [‘Karen’] has no idea if this man is pulling out a knife, a gun, or a treat that laced with a rat poison.

This assuredly is not the only report to contradict the media spin on the ‘Karen’ tale. A year ago Megyn Kelly did an extensive interview with podcaster Kmele Foster, who deep-dives into the facts and absolutely destroys the media narrative. Two years ago the Deseret News did a similar, less detailed takedown of the “racist ‘Karen’ in Central Park story.” (This opinion column, from Salt Lake City, erroneously assumes that the ‘Karen’ video surfaced after the George Floyd event, when it was actually circulating on social media earlier the same day. George Floyd, as it happens, was just more fuel on the fire.)

And now we come to the ‘Karen’ herself. How is she doing? Her real name is, coincidentally, Amy Cooper. Well, she didn’t get her old job back at Franklin Templeton. She sued them for termination and lost…even though her lawsuit included reports that Christian Cooper was a known harasser of dog owners in Central Park. Presumably the investment company was leery of PR fallout if they reinstated the “racist” Central Park Karen.

Of course PR fallout works both ways, and coincidentally or not Franklin Templeton was rated the worst-selling fund manager of 2020 (Source: Financial Times) and was still in the middle of a debt-fund crisis in 2022. Franklin Templeton has made some bad acquisitions in recent years, but it’s nice to think their brutal, peremptory treatment of Amy Cooper led some investors to transfer their portfolios elsewhere.

It’s also nice to think that Franklin Templeton made some kind of confidential settlement with Ms. Cooper, probably accompanied by a Non-Disclosure Agreement. Anyway, rumor hath it that she’s out of the country now…pitching tent in a non-English-speaking land where no one will have heard of Central Park Karen.

 

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