If you’re like me, you’ve tired of hearing stories of white people doing outrageous things to Black folk in the street. It’s exhausting and upsetting. And oftentimes, we abandon those stories for the sake of something else. For that reason, we passed on writing about “Soho Karen.” Although by now, I’m sure you’ve heard her story.
Miya Ponsetto is a 22-year-old woman who accused a 14-year-old boy of stealing her iPhone on December 26, 2020. Not only did she suspect him of taking the phone from her, as the boy and his father attempted to leave the hotel in SoHo, Ponsetto physically attacked the child, tackling him to the ground.
The boy did not steal her phone. Sources claim that her hotel was later returned by an Uber driver.
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Thankfully, the boy’s father, jazz musician Keyon Harrold Sr. pressed charges. And authorities had a warrant out for Ponsetto’s arrest.
Before they were able to detain her, she sat down, with her lawyer, for an interview with Gayle King. And things got a little heated during their discussion.
Gayle: Why did you think Keyon had your phone?
Miya: I was approaching the people who had been exiting the hotel because in my mind, anybody exiting may be is trying to steal my phone. I admit, yes, I could have approached the situation differently and maybe not yelled at him like that and maybe not made him feel in some sort of inferior way. Making him feel as if I was hurting his feelings because that’s not my intention. I consider myself to be super sweet. I really never ever meant for it to hurt him or his father, either.
Gayle: Are you saying you were stopping everyone in the lobby?
Miya: Not everyone, just the people in the meantime while the hotel manager was checking the footage, I just wanted to do the best I could.
Gayle tells Miya that for someone who describes herself as “super sweet” that wasn’t necessarily on display during the hotel surveillance video. Miya asked Gayle how she would feel if she had traveled to see her family and her only connection to them as she was alone in New York was “stolen.” Gayle said she wouldn’t have attacked anyone. She asked Miya what she thinks of her behavior.
Miya: I don’t think that’s who I am as a person. I don’t think this one mistake defines me but I do sincerely from the bottom of my heart apologize if I made the son feel as if I assaulted him or if I hurt his feelings or his father’s feelings.
Gayle: I don’t think one mistake defines anybody. But the video seems to show, you did more than just accuse him. The video seems to show that you physically attacked him.
Miya: At the end of the day, the dad did end up slamming me to the ground and pulling my hair and dragging me across the ground, I will say that.
Gayle: It looked like you had just attacked his son.
Miya: The footage shows me attacking his son. Attacking him how? Yelling at him. I apologized. Can we move on?
Gayle: I do think there should be some context to your actions that day.
Miya: Ok, I’m a 22-year-old girl. I don’t…racism…how is one girl accusing a guy about a phone, a crime? Where is the context in that? What is the deeper story here?
Gayle: Miya that is not the problem. You have to at least understand your actions that day. You seem to attached this young boy, this teenager about your phone and then he didn’t even have your phone. That’s the thing. You’re 22 but you are old enough to know better.
Miya: Alright Gayle, enough.
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Let us count the foolishness. Homegirl seemed to have completely forgotten that she put her hands on that little boy. And that’s why she is in trouble. It wasn’t about yelling and accusing. She tackled him and his father had every right to get her a$$ off of him in any way he saw fit: hair grabbing and all.
Secondly, white people are experts at infantilizing themselves when they’ve done some foul mess. 22 is not a girl. It is a grown woman. And I hope and pray that the law treats her as such. At 22, able to check into a hotel on your own, you are capable of distinguishing right from wrong. You should know that attacking a child is wrong and illegal and you and a fourteen year old will not be seen as equal peers in the court of law.
And lastly, I can’t understand why Gayle King is the constant recipient of such disrespect. Miya is on national television telling the world she’s “super sweet” yet she couldn’t even hide her nasty attitude long enough for a six-minute clip. She had a lawyer sitting next to her but I don’t know how much good it did. Because she was hellbent on not listening to anyone. That does a lot to explain why she’s in the predicament she’s in today.
She’s gross. And up until today, I was saddened to hear about all of the media attention she had received since the assault in the hotel.
Thankfully, after the interview, Ponsetto was arrested in California in connection to the assault. They caught her during a traffic stop near Los Angeles. According to CBS, they had to pull her out of the car when she refused to exit the vehicle. In their attempt to remove her, she tried to slam a car door on the deputy’s leg. She will likely face charges of resisting arrest.
Ponsetto’s attorney Sharen H. Ghatan said, “Miya has not grasped the severity of her circumstances. She is expressly disregarding advice and has gone rogue. I had an in-person meeting with Miya today, and after seeing her in person, I was able to determine she is simply unwell. She is emotionally and mentally fragile. I was forced to cancel national interviews due to my concern of her wellbeing and lack of understanding of the process. I am here to guide her as legal counsel – but if she is unwilling to take my advice, there is not much more I can do.”
I’m not entirely sure why Miya doesn’t grasp what’s happening to her because this is not the first time she’s had interactions with law enforcement.
Last year alone, she was arrested twice for a DUI. She was also arrested with her mother in February for being drunk in public at another hotel in Beverly Hills.