Investment giant Franklin Templeton has placed a woman employee on leave who sparked a viral confrontation in New York City’s Central Park on Monday.
“We take these matters very seriously, and we do not condone racism of any kind,” Franklin Templeton said in a statement. “While we are in the process of investigating the situation, the employee involved has been put on administrative leave.”
The woman, Amy Cooper, is seen on video being asked by a black man, Christian Cooper, to put her dog on a leash, and offered the pet a treat after she repeatedly refused to do so. Cooper wrote on Facebook that he said, “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,” before calling the dog over to him.
The video was first posted on social media by Christian’s sister, Melody.
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. pic.twitter.com/3YnzuATsDm
— Melody Cooper (@melodyMcooper) May 25, 2020
“There is an African American man. He is recording me and threatening my dog,” the woman is seen telling 911. In a later interview with CNN, Cooper apologized for her blow-up.
“I sincerely and humbly apologize to everyone, especially to that man, his family,” she stated. “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.”
Cooper reportedly returned her dog, who was adopted, to an animal shelter. Many online critics accused her of animal cruelty, as she is seen dragging her pet by a neck harness.
“As of this evening, the owner has voluntarily surrendered the dog in question to our rescue while this matter is being addressed,” Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue said. “The dog is now in our rescue’s care and he is safe and in good health.”