The Central Park Karen incident



I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a video of a nonviolent encounter between two randos go quite this viral in so short a time. Twenty-five million views in less than 24 hours is a mega-sensation.

Why, it even drew the attention of America’s least competent mayor:

Here it is, short and sweet. Karen, a.k.a. Amy Cooper, really does seem to go out of her way to racialize their dispute, which had to do with whether her dog was supposed to be on leash in this part of Central Park. She’s not just calling the cops to tell them that a man is threatening her. She’s calling to tell them that an African-American man is threatening her. That way they know it’s serious, I guess.

He’s certainly not threatening her in the footage, although the conversation that preceded the video is much more ambiguous. This transcript comes from the man himself, Christian Cooper, per his Facebook post about what happened:

ME: Ma’am, dogs in the Ramble have to be on the leash at all times. The sign is right there.
HER: The dog runs are closed. He needs his exercise.
ME: All you have to do is take him to the other side of the drive, outside the Ramble, and you can let him run off leash all you want.
HER: It’s too dangerous.
ME: Look, if you’re going to do what you want, I’m going to do what I want, but you’re not going to like it.
HER: What’s that?
ME (to the dog): Come here, puppy!

HER: He won’t come to you.
ME: We’ll see about that…

“DON’T YOU TOUCH MY DOG!” he claims she shouted, just before he began recording. What was he planning to do to the dog that she was “not going to like”? Because that *does* sound threatening.

Did she fear he was planning to feed the dog a poisoned treat? Or to choke it, maybe? If so, no worries: Looks like she had that covered herself, given the way she’s yanking the dog around by the neck in the clip while on the phone with 911. According to NBC’s New York affiliate, she “voluntarily” surrendered the dog last night after the clip went viral and people began accusing her of animal cruelty. And not just because of this incident: “Internet sleuths digging into Ms. Cooper’s life found an Instagram profile of her cocker spaniel mix and began sharing old photos documenting injuries the dog had suffered.” That’s how quickly the rapid response is nowadays when you end up as Twitter’s villain du jour.

She’s since apologized…

“I sincerely and humbly apologize to everyone, especially to that man, his family,” she said in a phone call. “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.”

“When I think about the police, I’m such a blessed person. I’ve come to realize especially today 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,” she continued.

…but that may have to do more with trying to soothe the Twitter mob that’s now after her job:

As for what Christian Cooper meant when he said “I’m going to do what I want, but you’re not going to like it,” he told CNN that “he keeps dog treats with him to get dog owners to put their dogs on leashes because, in his experience, dog owners hate when a stranger feeds their dog treats and immediately restrain their dogs afterward.” He objected to the dog being off-leash because he’s a bird-watcher and having dogs running around in the area scares off the ground-dwelling birds and risks ruining the plantings. For her part, Amy Cooper says she took his comment as threatening: “I didn’t know what that meant. When you’re alone in a wooded area, that’s absolutely terrifying, right?” But she reiterated her apologies to him anyway, insisting what she said is “not excusable, it’s not defensible” and lamenting that her “entire life is being destroyed right now.”

The moral of the story: Avoid all contact with other human beings. It’s the only way to be safe.





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