The police arrived but found neither Cooper nor the man were present.
It is not clear if Cooper would be charged though it is unlikely. She clearly clearly suggesting an imminent attack and says falsely that Christian Cooper is threatening her. Section 240.50 allows a charge for anyone who “initiates or circulates a false report” or, “gratuitously reports to a law enforcement officer or agency…an allegedly impending occurrence of an offense or incident which in fact is not about to occur.” However, such a charge might deter other people from calling police when they are in fear of an attack.
Cooper, 41, later apologized for the incident in a phone interview with NBC New York. She also returned her Cocker Spaniel to a rescue shelter where she adopted him a couple years ago. According to Heavy.com, Christian Cooper, 57, is a former Marvel Comics editor who graduated from Harvard and now works as the senior biomedical editor at Health Science Communications. He is an avid bird watcher.
Amy Cooper is a vice president and head of investment solutions at Franklin Templeton Investments in New York City and a native of Canada. She received a degree in actuarial science from the University of Waterloo in Ontario and a master’s in business administration in analytical finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in 2009.
We have addressed an array of such incidents, including social media controversies involving academics. In some cases, racially charged comments have been treated as free speech while in others they have resulted in discipline or termination. It is that lack of a consistent standard that has magnified free speech concerns. We have previously discussed the issue of when it is appropriate to punishment people for conduct outside of the work place. We have followed cases where people have been fired after boorish or insulting conduct once their names and employers are made known. (here and here and here and here and here and here).
The fact is that Franklin Templeton has now been drawn into the controversy by association. This case does not raise the type of political speech that we have previously discussed as a growing concern. This is not political speech but an unhinged and deeply disturbing use of what Christian Cooper called “the race card.” Courts are likely to support employers in holding employees accountable for such controversies.