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Birder Wrongfully Accused by 'Central Park Karen' Wins Emmy

Do you remember that story from a few years back? When a black man was enjoying some bird watching in New York's Central Park and a woman wrongfully and maliciously accused him of being threatening?

Christian Cooper, birder
Christian Cooper | Credit: NatGeo

Well, the story goes like this: In 2020 Christian Cooper was in a wooded area of NYC’s Central Park called The Ramble, enjoying his lifelong passion for birdwatching when a woman threatened to call 911 on him after he asked her to put her dog back on its leash, as per the park rules. Becoming irate, the woman called the cops and said there was an African-American man threatening her life, all while the Harvard-educated Cooper recorded the awful incident on his smartphone.

He then posted it on social media and it became national news. Cooper, serendipitously, was then invited to host a birding show on Nat Geo. Meanwhile, the woman - who became known as 'Central Park Karen' - was fired from her job as an investment manager.

Now, four years later, Cooper - who hosts the NatGeo show Extraordinary Birder - has just bagged an Emmy Award.

It’s the joyful culmination of four years of creative work spawned in the wake of the 'Central Park Karen' incident, that has seen Christian Cooper produce a book, television show, and graphic novel series. Now he has a Daytime Emmy Award on his mantlepiece after winning in the Outstanding Daytime Personality category for his show, which took viewers all over the Western Hemisphere exploring the nature and character of birds and Cooper’s lifelong hobby.


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