About three years ago, Christian Cooper made the headlines after being harassed by a woman in New York City‘s Central Park who refused to leash her dog. After asking the woman (Amy Cooper, unrelated) to comply with park rules, she became enraged and threatened to call the police, falsely claiming that Cooper was threatening her. The incident was widely regarded as an example of racial profiling and garnered widespread media attention.
Here’s a short piece CBS News did on the encounter to get you up to speed:
Who is Black Birdwatcher, Christian Cooper?
Birdwatcher Christian Cooper is a Harvard-educated African American writer and editor based in New York City. He was born on March 10, 1963, in New York City. Cooper has worked for Marvel Comics and worked on titles such as “Star Trek,” “X-Force,” and “The Avengers.”
Cooper’s avid birdwatching led him to write for several publications, such as Audubon Magazine. He is a member of the board of directors for the New York City Audubon Society and a volunteer on the Central Park bird patrol. Along with writing about birds, Cooper has also served as a panel judge for the National Book Awards.
And National Geographic noticed.
From Central Park to National Geographic
Since his run-in with the Central Park Karen, National Geographic TV, and Disney Plus have managed to turn his hateful experience into a hosting opportunity doing what he loves most. Birdwatching, of course! The new documentary series is called Extraordinary Birder with Christian Cooper.
Here’s National Geographic’s rundown of the show,
Life-long birder Christian Cooper takes us into the wild, wonderful and unpredictable world of birds. Whether navigating volcanic terrain in Hawaii for elusive honeycreepers, 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.
The series will premiere on the National Geographic Wild channel on June 17, 2023, and will hit Disney Plus a few days later on June 21.