Christian Cooper, the Black man accosted by a white woman who became known as “Central Park Karen” during a birdwatching excursion in 2020, is set to embark on a new professional endeavor.
National Geographic announced this week that it had tapped Cooper, a New York resident, to host a six-episode series titled “Extraordinary Birder.” According to the network, the show will explore the “wild, wonderful and unpredictable world of birds,” as seen from Cooper’s perspective.
“Whether braving stormy seas in Alaska for puffins, trekking into rainforests in Puerto Rico for parrots, or scaling a bridge in Manhattan for a peregrine falcon, he does whatever it takes to learn about these extraordinary feathered creatures and show us the remarkable world in the sky above,” National Geographic said in a statement.
Cooper told The New York Times on Monday that he was eager to encourage viewers “to stop and watch and listen and really start appreciating the absolutely spectacular creatures that we have among us.”
“Extraordinary Birder” is expected to air on one of National Geographic’s channels and the Disney+ streaming service. A release date was not announced.
A science writer and editor, Cooper was thrust into the public eye two years ago when Amy Cooper (no relation), walking in New York’s Central Park, called the police and falsely accused him of threatening her and her dog.
“I’m going to tell them there’s an African American man threatening my life,” Amy Cooper said during the heated exchange, which Christian Cooper captured in a cellphone video.
Amy Cooper was branded “Central Park Karen” for her actions. She lost her job at the investment firm Franklin Templeton and was briefly required to return her dog to a rescue agency after the footage went viral on social media. After apologizing in a public statement, she was charged with a third-degree misdemeanor for filing a false police report. The charge was later dropped.
Though Christian Cooper said he viewed the woman’s actions as “definitely racist,” he nonetheless urged his supporters to “err on the side of compassion.”
“I am told there has been death threats and that is wholly inappropriate and abhorrent and should stop immediately,” he told CNN’s Don Lemon in 2020. “I find it strange that people who were upset that ... she tried to bring death by cop down on my head, would then turn around and try to put death threats on her head. Where is the logic in that?”