Earlier this year, Miya Ponsetto earned herself the nickname “Soho Karen,” after a video showed her attacking a Black teenager, throwing him to the ground, and falsely accusing him of stealing her phone. While I, too, was hoping to never hear from this woman — who has referred to herself as a “22-year-old girl” — ever again, I have a bit of satisfying news: Ponsetto has been charged with a hate crime for the alleged physical assault and false accusation.
On Wednesday, as the New York Times reports, Ponsetto faced two counts of second-degree unlawful imprisonment as a hate crime, one count of second-degree aggravated harassment, and one count of endangering the welfare of a child. She pleaded not guilty to all counts. Earlier this year, Ponsetto was also charged with attempted robbery, grand larceny, acting in a manner injurious to a child, and attempted assault for the incident, which was captured on film, on December 26, 2020.
Footage of Ponsetto attacking 14-year-old Keyon Harrold Jr. went viral after it was shared on Instagram by the teen’s father, Keyon Harrold Sr., who is a Grammy-winning jazz trumpeter. In the video, Ponsetto can be heard saying, “No, I’m not letting him walk away with my phone!” before the alleged attack. Her phone was later found and returned by an Uber driver.
Ponsetto was reportedly less vocal at her Wednesday hearing than she was during an interview in January with CBS This Morning’s Gayle King, in which Ponsetto was, at best, insolent. During the interview, Ponsetto referred to herself as a “22-year-old girl” in defense of her actions. To which King responded, “You’re 22 years old, but you are old enough to know better.” At that point, Ponsetto cut her off, saying, “All right, Gayle, enough,” and holding her hand up dismissively. The closest Ponsetto came to offering an apology to Keyon Harrold Jr. during the appearance was saying she’s sorry “if I insulted him or hurt his feelings.” She was arrested a couple hours after the interview.
“I’m feeling hopeful,” Harrold Sr. said, following Ponsetto’s recent charges, per the Times. “Our life changed because somebody having the entitlement and idea that just because of the way my son looked he was the one who stole her property, which is so ridiculous … It’s been a couple of months, but every time I talk about it, it brings back all kinds of emotions — like the fear that if I wasn’t there to protect my son, what could have happened?” He noted the December incident is indicative of a larger, recurring problem: “When people are falsely accused, it powers the system of injustice and powers the system of inequality. And it marginalizes people of color disproportionately.”
Ponsetto’s next court appearance is set for October 20.