“SoHo Karen” denies racially profiling Black teen in fancy hotel

Miya Ponsetto gives a bizarre interview to Gayle King hours before she is arrested in connection to the incident involving Keyon Harrold Jr.


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Miya Ponsetto
Miya Ponsetto
(Ventura County Sheriff's Department)

Right. The dust has kind of settled on the carnage in the Capitol. Back to the story that really has Americans on the edge of their seats: Crazy “SoHo Karen”.

As the world seems to fall around our ears, the woman who went viral when she falsely accused a Black teenager of stealing her phone is back in the news.

This time she has given yet another strange interview in which she denied the incident has anything to do with race.

The 22-year-old woman that the Internet has dubbed SoHo Karen even tried to cut off veteran anchor Gayle King when King tried to press her on the motivations for her verbal and physical assault on the boy, Keyon Harrold Jr.

Oh, and a few hours later she was arrested in California.

As far as the interview went, Ponsetto insisted that she “never meant” to hurt the 14-year-old son of jazz trumpeter Keyon Harrold at the upscale Arlo Hotel in Manhattan’s SoHo. The young woman even went so far as to claim that she is a “super sweet” person.

Ponsetto, wearing a black cap with the word “Daddy,” was joined by her attorney Sharen Ghatan during the Thursday afternoon interview with Gayle King, which aired on “CBS This Morning” Friday.

“I admit yes, I could have approached the situation differently or maybe not yelled at him like that or made him feel some sort of inferior way, making him feel as if I was like, hurting his feelings, because that’s not my intention,” Ponsetto said. “I consider myself to be super sweet. I really never, never meant for it to hurt him or his father either.”

However, King took issue with Ponsetto’s description of herself as “super sweet,” based on the viral video — which shows Ponsetto allegedly attacking Keyon Harrold Jr. and trying to snatch his phone.

“How would you feel if you were alone in New York and you’re going to spend time with your family during the holidays and you lose the one thing that gets stolen from you that has all the access, the only way that you’re able to get back home?” Ponsetto replied.  

When King asked if Ponsetto approached everyone in the lobby about her phone, she replied, “Not everyone.”

“Just the people that, in the meantime, while the hotel manager was checking the footage, I just wanted to do my part as best as I could,” she said.

Ponsetto also accused the teen’s father of “slamming me to the ground and pulling my hair and throwing me and dragging me across the ground, so I will say that,” to which King replied that she had just attacked his son.

“The footage shows me attacking his son. Attacking him how? Yelling at him? Yes,” she said, without addressing the physical assault. “OK, I apologize, can we move on?”

“Basically, I am a 22-year-old girl,” she added. “I don’t … racism is … how is one girl accusing a guy about a phone a crime? Where is the context in that? What is the deeper story here?”

“You seem to have attacked this … young boy … this teenager about your phone, and then it turned out he didn’t even have your phone,” King replied. “That’s the thing. You’re saying, ‘Look, I’m 22 years old,’ you’re 22 years old, but you are old enough to know better.”

“Enough,” Ponsetto said, raising her hand in an attempt to cut King off, prompting her attorney to try and calm her down.

Perhaps some media training prep beforehand would have been smart? A bit of Q&A drilling as the professionals advise!

Woman assaults Black teen
Miya Ponsetto confronts Keyon Harrold Jr. last month in Soho’s Arlo Hotel

CBS also approached the parents of SoHo Karen’s victim for a comment.

In a statement they provided to the network they said: “This is not about an apology from someone who until a few days ago was claiming she did nothing wrong, and in fact alleged Keyon Harrold Sr. had assaulted her. [Ponsetto is] someone who targeted a 14-year-old Black child because of the color of his skin,” they said.

Hours after the interview, Ventura County deputies tried to pull Ponsetto over. She drove about three blocks before stopping at her Piru home — where she nearly slammed her car door on an officer and ended up getting pulled out of her vehicle, polce said.

Ponsetto booked at a pre-trial detention facility in Ventura, where she is being held without bail for the fugitive warrant, according to police. She will remain there pending a hearing regarding her extradition to New York.

We don’t know when we will get the next instalment of this contemporary tale of Crazy America. But one thing is for sure: we will all be on tenterhooks until we do.

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