Bird-watcher wrongfully accused in Central Park video gets a bird-watching TV show
Christian Cooper, the bird-watching Black man who was the target of false accusations during an encounter in New York City’s Central Park in 2020, has a new TV show airing on National Geographic.
The channel announced this week that Cooper, a lifelong bird-watcher, will host a series called Extraordinary Birder. In the series, Cooper will take viewers into the “wild, wonderful and unpredictable world of birds,” according to National Geographic.
— National Geographic TV (@NatGeoTV) May 16, 2022
“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,” the network said in a statement.
The channel has yet to announce a premier date for the show.
In an interview with The New York Times, Cooper said his love for bird-watching began at age 10, and he told the newspaper he “was all in” when National Geographic approached him about the possibility of a TV show nearly a year and a half ago.
“I love spreading the gospel of birding,” he said in the Times interview.
The 59-year-old was thrust into the spotlight in May 2020 after Amy Cooper (no relation), a white woman with a dog, called the police saying he threatened her and her dog.
In a video recorded by Christian Cooper, Amy Cooper is shown calling the police, telling 911 dispatchers, “I’m in the Ramble. And there is a man, African American — he has a bicycle helmet. He’s recording me and threatening me and my dog.”
Amy Cooper was charged with a third-degree misdemeanor over making the false claim, but the charge was later dropped, given her lack of a criminal background.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office says it dropped the charge after Amy Cooper completed five restorative justice sessions.
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