The most popular video on the internet today seems to feature a “Karen” in her natural habitat, freaking out and calling the police on a person of colour who simply asked her to leash her dog as per local rules — except that the Karen in this case was not actually in her natural habitat, as the location of the incident was Central Park, and this Karen is Canadian.
The video, which has more than 29 million views and counting, shows a tense encounter that took place on Monday between birdwatcher Christian Cooper and unrelated stranger, Amy Cooper, who was walking her dog unleashed in a wooded portion of New York City’s biggest green space.
The park asks that owners leash their pets while in parts such as The Ramble, where Christian came across Amy, a woman from Ontario living in New York City, and her unleashed Cocker Spaniel.
When he reminded her of the leash rule, she immediately said she was going to call the cops and “tell them there’s an African-American man threatening my life.”
Footage of the incident shows the dog owner proceeding to actually call the police, acting completely frantic at points for absolutely no reason.
“I’m in The Ramble, and there is a man — African-American, he has a bicycle helmet — he is recording me and threatening me and my dog,” she says, repeating herself once more (all while choking out the poor animal, who is struggling to get loose from her grasp on its collar).
She then whips out her really panicky white woman voice, saying she can’t hear the dispatcher because she is “being threatened by a man in The Ramble,” who in actual fact, as seen in the video, was not threatening, nor standing anywhere near her.
“Please send the cops immediately!” she says, out of breath.
The woman’s reaction was completely ridiculous, outright wrong, and most importantly extremely racist, with her tone indicating that she knew her privilege and the full implications of calling the police on people of colour unnecessarily.
(Just one day after the incident, yet another black man in America has died while in police custody.)
Luckily, things did not escalate after the video’s cut-off point. Both individuals were apparently gone from the scene when police arrived, and Amy has now been fired from her job at Franklin Templeton Investments.
She was also forced to return her dog to the shelter she adopted it from as a result of the video.
Amy has since publicly apologized for her actions, telling CNN that she was “just scared” because she was walking her dog alone, and letting us all know that despite her racially-charged freakout, she is not, in fact, a racist.