In a video that went viral on Monday, investment banker Amy Cooper is seen threatening to call the police on Christian Cooper (no relation) and tell them that “an African-American man is threatening my life,” after the avid birdwatcher asked her to put her dog on a leash.
The woman was walking her unleashed dog in an animal and nature reserve section of NYC’s Central Park when Cooper politely asked her to put a leash on her dog, as is required in that area of the park. Rather than complying with the request and adhering to the park’s posted rules, she proceeded to threaten to call the cops and tell them he was threatening her life. In order to protect himself from the impending possibility of police involvement, Cooper began recording the incident.
In the now-viral video, the woman is seen angrily threatening Cooper as he peacefully stands by, and proceeds to call 911 and frantically relay a fictitious story of being attacked by a Black man in the park.
Though he has made no further comments in regards to the incident, the writer’s sister, Melody Cooper, quickly took to Twitter to comment. “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,” she wrote.
The woman who threatened Cooper has since been placed on administrative leave by her employer and her actions are currently under investigation. She also issued an apology for her actions, stating she has now “come to realize” that many people do share her privileges in terms of police protection.
Aside from being an avid birdwatcher, Cooper also happens to be a trailblazing queer comic writer. As a former editor for Marvel, he is known as a pioneer in the comic world for creating the character Yoshi Mishima, the first gay male character in a Star Trek comic and the first gay human ever within the Star Trek universe. With Yoshi, Cooper explored themes of discrimination, obviously something he’s no stranger to in his own life. He also has written stories for Ghost Rider and Vengeance comics.