When it comes to identity classifications, what goes around comes around.
The woman whom the Internet has dubbed “SoHo Karen” is clinging to her partly Puerto Rican heritage to claim that – as a “person of color” – she cannot be racist.
Miya Ponsetto has been widely vilified after a video of her in a Manhattan hotel lobby accusing a Black teen of stealing her iPhone went viral. The disturbing footage also showed Ponsetto, 22, appearing to physically assault the teen, Keyon Harrold Jr., who is the son of a famous jazz musician.
SoHo Karen made the remarks during a previously filmed interview with “CBS This Morning” anchor Gayle King that was previewed on Twitter.
In a part of the interview that has already been aired, Ponsetto has already denied racially profiling Harrold Jr. when she accused him of the theft. Her phone was later found by an Uber driver and returned to her.
Shortly after she filmed the interview with King, Ponsetto was arrested and transported to the Big Apple to face the music. She was charged with attempted robbery, grand larceny, acting in a manner injurious to a child and two counts of attempted assault over the alleged Dec. 26 caught-on-camera attack on 14-year-old Harrold Jr. at the city’s Arlo Hotel.
The teen’s father, trumpet player Keyon Harrold, was also present during the incident.
In the interview with King, SoHo Karen again recounts the events that led to the confronation.
“I had noticed my phone had been missing. So I just approached the hotel manager, asked him if he could kindly just check the footage,” Ponsetto recalled.
“In my opinion, I was, like, ‘OK, any person walking down could possibly be the person that might’ve had my phone.’ And I, I really didn’t, I wasn’t racial profiling whatsoever. I’m a woman. I’m Puerto Rican. I’m, like, a woman of color. I’m Italian, Greek, Puerto Rican.”
King then asked, “You keep saying you’re Puerto Rican. Does that mean that you can’t be racist because you’re saying you’re a woman of color? Is that what you mean?”
“Exactly,” Ponsetto replied.
The veteran CSB anchor was not letting that one pass.
“I would disagree with that,” King quickly responded.
According to the 2015 Race and Hispanic Origin estimate published by the US Census Bureau, 2,495,997 Puerto Ricans identified as “White Alone.” That equates to approximately 78% of the island’s total population.
Separately, SoHo Karen told the Daily Mail at the weekend that she still believes the teen took her phone.
According to the outlet, one its reporters spotted her at Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday and asked her: “Why do you think that kid took your phone, was it because he was black?”
“No,” Ponsetto replied. “Because he did.”