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Soho Karen Miya Ponsetto apologizes for assaulting black teen but his family says it’s not ‘genuine’

‘Soho Karen’ Miya Ponsetto has finally offered an apology to the black teen she accused of stealing her phone, but his parents say they don’t find her words to be ‘genuine’ and are calling for a boycott against the Arlo hotel chain.

On Monday CBS This Morning aired more footage of host Gayle King’s interview with Ponsetto, who was arraigned over the weekend in New York City and freed on supervised release.

In the interview she offered an apology for the December 26 incident where she charged at Keyon Harrold Jr, 14, the son of prominent jazz trumpeter Keyon Harrold Sr in the lobby of the Arlo Hotel in Soho, Manhattan. 

‘I’m sorry. I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart. He is honestly — he’s 14? That’s what they’re claiming? Yeah. I’m 22. I’ve lived probably just the same amount of life as him. Like, honestly. I’m just as a kid at heart as he is,’ she said. 

‘I feel sorry that I made the family go through, like, all of that stress. But at the same time, it wasn’t just them going through that,’ she added.

Keyon Harrold Sr slammed her apology saying: ‘I feel like her apology was, you know, as genuine as when she shushed you. It said a lot. I have an issue with the idea of entitlement versus character.’

He referred to a shocking moment in the interview where Ponsetto raised her hand and hushed King saying ‘Enough!’ as she asked a question. 

‘Soho Karen’ Miya Ponsetto has finally offered an apology to the black teen she accused of stealing her phone, but his parents say they don’t find her words to be ‘genuine’ and are calling for a boycott against the Arlo hotel chain. ‘I feel sorry that I made the family go through, like, all of that stress. But at the same time, it wasn’t just them going through that,’ she said in a video interview with Gayle King that aired on CBS This Morning Monday

‘I’m happy that she’s been arrested. But that’s only the first step in a very big conversation that needs to happen here in America that has to do with racial profiling. If I had done that, what Miya Ponsetto had done to my son, I’d be in jail now,’ he added. 

‘As a Black man, every day I walk outside, I have to play the perfect game, almost like throwing a no-hitter, just to be believed.’ 

The interview also glossed over the whereabouts of Ponsetto’s phone. 

King asked: ‘It’s been reported that your phone was returned to you by an Uber driver. Is that true?’

‘That is not true because I arrived at the hotel with my phone in my hand,’ Ponsetto replied.

King asked ‘Who returned your phone to you?’ and Ponsetto replied ‘The hotel receptionist’.  

When King asked, ‘Miya, where had the phone been?’ she said ‘Why don’t we ask the hotel receptionist?’  

A hotel spokesman tells DailyMail.com that Ponsetto was asked to leave the hotel after the scuffle and after she left her phone was returned to the front desk of the hotel by an Uber driver. When she returned to the hotel, the receptionist gave it back to her.  

Keyon Harrold Sr slammed her apology saying: 'I feel like her apology was, you know, as genuine as when she shushed you. It said a lot. I have an issue with the idea of entitlement versus character.' He referred to a shocking moment in the interview where Ponsetto raised her hand and hushed King saying 'Enough!' as she asked a question

Keyon Harrold Sr slammed her apology saying: ‘I feel like her apology was, you know, as genuine as when she shushed you. It said a lot. I have an issue with the idea of entitlement versus character.’ He referred to a shocking moment in the interview where Ponsetto raised her hand and hushed King saying ‘Enough!’ as she asked a question

Kat Rodriguez, the mother of Keyon Harrold Jr, pictured speaking alongside Rev. Al Sharpton and attorney Ben Crump at a news conference in Manhattan on Monday. At the press conference they called for the boycott of Arlo hotels and its owner Quandrum Global

Kat Rodriguez, the mother of Keyon Harrold Jr, pictured speaking alongside Rev. Al Sharpton and attorney Ben Crump at a news conference in Manhattan on Monday. At the press conference they called for the boycott of Arlo hotels and its owner Quandrum Global

Revered Al Sharpton pictured speaking at hte Monday press conference avoce. They updated the public on Ponsetta's charges for the Arlo hotel incident

Revered Al Sharpton pictured speaking at hte Monday press conference avoce. They updated the public on Ponsetta’s charges for the Arlo hotel incident

Keyon Harrold, Kat Rodriguez, and their representatives carried signs with a list of hotels to boycott for the December 26 incident

Keyon Harrold, Kat Rodriguez, and their representatives carried signs with a list of hotels to boycott for the December 26 incident

On Monday Keyon Harrold Jr’s family held a news conference in Manhattan calling for a boycott of Arlo Hotels, which has locations in New York and Miami, and its owner Quadrum Global for enabling racial profiling, harassment and the assault of Keyon Jr.

Attorney Ben Crump tweeted ‘@ArloHotels (owned by Quadrum Global) ummediately took Miya Ponsetto’s word despite having NO evidence that Keyon Harrold Jr stole her phone and allowed her to attach him.’

On Sunday Ponsetto returned to her Piru, California home after she was arraigned in New York City, where a judge ruled she did not require bail but warned she must attend of all of her future court dates in NYC. 

She has been charged with four felonies: attempted robbery, endangering welfare of a child, attempted grand larceny, and attempted assault  

Ponsetto had flown back to New York to face charges in a hearing at Red Hook Justice Center in Brooklyn after she was arrested last Thursday in California on a New York warrant. 

She was pictured being led out of the NYPD’s First Precinct with cuffs around her wrists and ankles on Saturday afternoon as she was transported to Red Hook Justice Center.

She also faces public intoxication, drunk driving and motor vehicle charges in California

New footage has emerged showing Ponsetto hitting officers during a DUI arrest on October 3 last year in her home state of California.   

She can be heard screaming ‘There are gang members killing people right now and you’re arresting a girl?’ while the officers attempt to cuff her and get her in the back of a police car.   

In the separate video of her DUI arrest on October 3, officers could be seen forcing Ponsetto to the floor as she resisted arrest during the incident in Ventura County, California. 

Her mother Nicole can be heard pleading with the officers to leave her alone. 

An eyewitness claimed the drama began when the mother and daughter stopped on the side of the road, screaming and cussing at each other while standing beside their Range Rover. 

Ponsetto was taken into custody on a warrant from New York on Thursday after a brief car chase with police in California

Ponsetto was taken into custody on a warrant from New York on Thursday after a brief car chase with police in California

The witness said she tried to see if either of them needed any help but Miya got back in the car and demanded her mother do the same before driving off. 

Concerned Miya may have been intoxicated, the witnesses called police and tailed the mother and daughter until the pair pulled into a gas station. 

When the officers arrived they attempted to detain Ponsetto, who demanded to see a warrant and an explanation for what she had done wrong while insulting the officers and trying to squirm around to avoid cuffs. 

Ponsetto was charged with DUI, resisting arrest and obstructing/delaying a peace officer or EMT. Her blood alcohol levels were twice the legal limit. 

The emergence of the video came as Ponsetto was spotted at LAX airport on Sunday afternoon  with a drink in hand following her arraignment in NYC as she repeated claims that the teenager had stolen her phone.    

When asked ‘Why do you think that kid took your phone, was it because he was black?’ she responded: ‘No, because he did.’  

She had been extradited back to New York after she was filmed attacking Keyon Harrold Jr, who is the son of Grammy-winning jazz musician Keyon Harrold, at the Arlo Hotel in Manhattan back on December 26 after falsely accusing him of stealing her iPhone. 

It has been revealed that Ponsetto is also being investigated for allegedly smashing a door at her Airbnb apartment with a fire extinguisher the same day as the Arlo hotel incident, according to the New York Post.

In the Airbnb incident, Ponsetto allegedly tried to force her way into the East Village apartment building after she locked herself out. 

Ponsetto’s attorney Paul D’Emilia said Sunday that the allegations came up during his client’s arraignment and no charges have been filed for the door-bashing incident.  

'Soho Karen' Miya Ponsetto, 22, touched down at Los Angeles International Airport with a drink in hand on Sunday afternoon after leaving New York, where she was arraigned on assault charges for attacking 14-year-old Keyon Harrold Jr, claiming he stole her phone

‘Soho Karen’ Miya Ponsetto, 22, touched down at Los Angeles International Airport with a drink in hand on Sunday afternoon after leaving New York, where she was arraigned on assault charges for attacking 14-year-old Keyon Harrold Jr, claiming he stole her phone

The 22-year-old was unapologetic and defiant as she walked through the airport Sunday afternoon with a drink secured in her hand.

She repeated her claim that Keyon Harrold Jr, 14, stole her phone

The 22-year-old was unapologetic and defiant as she walked through the airport Sunday afternoon with a drink secured in her hand. She repeated her claim that Keyon Harrold Jr, 14, stole her phone 

Ponsetto has been ordered to stay away from Keyon Jr and must return to New York for her March court date. Pictured leaving the LAX airport on Sunday

Ponsetto has been ordered to stay away from Keyon Jr and must return to New York for her March court date. Pictured leaving the LAX airport on Sunday

Ponsetto had been extradited from California to attend the hearing at Red Hook Justice Center in Brooklyn, where the judge ruled that she did not require bail - but ordered her to return to New York City for her next court date in March

Ponsetto had been extradited from California to attend the hearing at Red Hook Justice Center in Brooklyn, where the judge ruled that she did not require bail – but ordered her to return to New York City for her next court date in March

A close up view of Ponsetto's drink above. She has been charged with four felonies: attempted robbery, endangering welfare of a child, attempted grand larceny, and attempted assault. She also faces public intoxication, drunk driving and motor vehicle charges in California

A close up view of Ponsetto’s drink above. She has been charged with four felonies: attempted robbery, endangering welfare of a child, attempted grand larceny, and attempted assault. She also faces public intoxication, drunk driving and motor vehicle charges in California

When asked on Sunday 'Why do you think that kid took your phone, was it because he was black?' she said, 'No, because he did.'

She kept her head down and defended herself insisting Keyon Jr stole her phone during the Arlo Hotel incident, even though the teen didn't have it, as she walked to a waiting car outside LAX airport on Sunday

When asked on Sunday ‘Why do you think that kid took your phone, was it because he was black?’ she said, ‘No, because he did.’ 

On Saturday, Ponsetto was pictured arriving at her New Jersey hotel after being arraigned for the attack on the teenager.  

A source told New York Daily News that she underwent a medical screening in Red Hook because she had just flown in from California where coronavirus cases are high. 

During the arraignment, where she appeared before a video camera, Ponsetto repeated ‘Hi’ and asked; ‘Can you guys hear me?’ before the judge told her to stop.

‘My recommendation is that you remain quiet right now,’ said Judge Michael Frishman.  

Judge Frishman said that under New York law, they could not impose bail on Ponsetto but warned her that she had to make all her court dates. 

She also faces public intoxication, drunk driving and motor vehicle charges in California.

‘Apparently, you have a lot of cases in California right now. You are gonna have to appear in all those court cases as well. Okay?’ he asked.  

Manhattan Assistant DA Sarah Marquez asked for the highest level of supervised release for Ponsetto for the attack which she called ‘unprovoked.’ 

Ponsetto was ordered to attend Manhattan Criminal Court on March 29 for her next hearing.  

The lawyer for the victims, Ben Crump, celebrated the charges on Twitter.  

‘Miya Ponsetto was charged with 4 FELONIES for her horrific attack on 14yo Keyon Harrold Jr!’ he wrote.

‘This is a good development, but management of @ArloHotels — owned by Quadrum Global — gave power to Miya’s racist actions and must also be held accountable!!’ Crump wrote. 

Home sweet home! Ponsetto pictured arriving to her family home in Piru, California after her flight Sunday

Home sweet home! Ponsetto pictured arriving to her family home in Piru, California after her flight Sunday

Ponsetto smiled and waved to the cameras as she arrived home on Sunday.

Ponsetto has a court appearance in New York on March 29 for her alleged attack on 14-year-old Keyon Harrold Jr

Ponsetto smiled and waved to the cameras as she arrived home on Sunday. Ponsetto has a court appearance in New York on March 29 for her alleged attack on 14-year-old Keyon Harrold Jr

Nicole Ponsetto, Miya's mother, pictured with a can in hand ready to welcome her daughter home Sunday

Nicole Ponsetto, Miya’s mother, pictured with a can in hand ready to welcome her daughter home Sunday

Police arrested Ponsetto on a fugitive from justice warrant issued by New York Thursday afternoon following a brief car chase in her home state of California. 

Ventura County Sheriff’s deputies arrested Ponsetto after spotting her driving near her home in Piru, northwest of Los Angeles. 

Authorities said she drove two blocks before finally stopping her vehicle but then refused to get out of the car. 

‘She tried to slam the door on one of the deputies and that’s when they just reached in and forcibly removed her,’ Ventura County Sheriff’s spokesman Eric Buschow said.  

Senior Det Dominguez with the Sheriff’s Fugitive Unit said he had read Ponsetto her rights when he arrested her and that she had signed a waiver agreeing to her extradition, according to New York Daily News  

The sheriff’s office are now asking county prosecutors in California to also charge her with resisting arrest.     

On Friday, she appeared during a California court hearing by video. She spoke only once answering ‘yes’ when asked by Judge David M. Hirsch if she understood why she was there and then agreed to her extradition.

Tuttle, the Los Angeles public defender representing Ponsetto after she parted ways with her initial attorney, Sharen H. Ghatan, in recent days, agreed that the woman had ‘no objection’ to the extradition.

‘I did speak with Ms Ponsetto prior to court, and that is correct, she has signed the waiver and she has no objection to being transported to New York,’ Tuttle said. 

Her attorney did not request for her to be released on bail.   

Ponsetto was led out of the NYPD's 1st Precinct in handcuffs on Saturday, ahead of her arraignment that afternoon

Ponsetto was led out of the NYPD’s 1st Precinct in handcuffs on Saturday, ahead of her arraignment that afternoon 

Miya Ponsetto

Miya Ponsetto

Prosecutors charged Ponsetto with four felonies of attempted robbery, endangering the welfare of a child, attempted grand larceny, and attempted assault 

Ponsetto was transported to Manhattan Criminal Court where she was arraigned Saturday afternoon

Ponsetto was transported to Manhattan Criminal Court where she was arraigned Saturday afternoon 

Hirsch said charges against Ponsetto in Ventura County will be heard in a court hearing later on April 6, 2021. 

It was not clear what those charges would be. However they may relate to the police chase that led to her arrest as well as possible violations of probation orders on her current rap sheet.  

Ghatan had previously said that Ponsetto’s mental health is particularly fragile.

‘I’m very concerned about her mental health and wellbeing because for her to start an interview with such a defiant tone, disregarding everything she’s saying, including myself, and I’m here for her best interest, concerned me greatly,’ Ghatan said.

‘She’s just not well. I am not a psychiatrist… She’s not well, that is all I can say. She needs help, and it is not the type of help I can give.’ 

Ghatan added that Ponsetto was the most challenging client she has had to deal with in a long time.

‘Out of a hundred clients, you might get one that doesn’t listen, the other 99 want to listen. She happens to be the one.

‘I am uncertain as to how I’m going to proceed,’ Ghatan revealed. ‘I’m uncertain if I can proceed forward with a client who is unwilling and unaccepting of the legal advice I’m giving her.’ 

Ghatan now no longer represents Ponsetto.  

Ponsetto was dubbed 'SoHo Karen' after she was seen in a now-viral video (pictured) attacking African American jazz artist Keyon Harrold's son Keyon Jr

Ponsetto accused Keyon Jr (pictured) of stealing her phone

Ponsetto was dubbed ‘SoHo Karen’ after she was seen in a video (left) falsely accusing African American jazz artist Keyon Harrold’s son Keyon Jr (right) of stealing her iPhone at the Arlo Hotel on December 26 

The NYPD released surveillance footage of Ponsetto tackling Keyon Jr to the ground in the lobby of the Arlo Hotel after she accused him of stealing her iPhone

The NYPD released surveillance footage of Ponsetto tackling Keyon Jr to the ground in the lobby of the Arlo Hotel after she accused him of stealing her iPhone

Hours before her arrest on Thursday she had given a rambling interview with CBS This Morning’s Gayle King where she denied racism was a factor in the December attack and refused to admit she physically assaulted the teenage boy.

In her interview, Ponsetto apologized for making the teen feel ‘inferior’.

She admitted she could have handled the situation differently but stopped short of acknowledging she attacked the teen, despite footage to the contrary. 

Ponsetto also apologized for hurting the boy’s feelings but then suddenly snapped back at King telling her ‘Alright Gayle, enough’ as she was pressed on the incident and told she was ‘old enough to know better’.  

‘I don’t feel like this one mistake does define me,’ Ponsetto said. ‘I consider myself to be super sweet. I’m a 22-year-old girl… how is one girl accusing a guy about a phone a crime?’ 

Ponsetto revealed how she did not stop everyone in the hotel lobby when she believed her phone had been stolen.

‘I was approaching the people that had been exiting the hotel – because in my mind, anybody exiting might be the one trying to steal my phone,’ she said. 

When asked about her physically attacking the teen, Ponsetto repeated previous claims that the boy’s father actually attacked her.

‘The footage shows me attacking his son, attacking him how? Yelling at him, yes. OK, I apologize. Can we move on?’ she said.  

Ghatan also told Ponsetto not to wear the black baseball cap emblazoned with the word ‘Daddy’ on it for the CBS interview.  

Lawyer Sharen Ghatan explained Ponsetto, who is from California, had been visiting her father in New York City for Christmas and was nervous about being alone in a strange city

Lawyer Sharen Ghatan explained Ponsetto, who is from California, had been visiting her father in New York City for Christmas and was nervous about being alone in a strange city

Harrold Sr and Keyon Jr's mother, Kat Rodriguez, held a rally in Manhattan for their son on Wednesday, alongside civil rights attorney Ben Crump (right) and Rev Al Sharpton (left)

Harrold Sr and Keyon Jr’s mother, Kat Rodriguez, held a rally in Manhattan for their son on Wednesday, alongside civil rights attorney Ben Crump (right) and Rev Al Sharpton (left)

‘The hat definitely wasn’t chosen by me,’ Ghatan told The Daily Beast who also revealed that she decided to cancel other planned interviews after realizing what a train wreck the CBS one had been.

‘My office gave her advice on what to wear. We asked her to wear professional attire. When she came to the interview, I told her the baseball hat wouldn’t be something we could use in the interview. One because of the lighting, two because of the logo. She was very defiant and insistent that she wear it. I specifically asked her to remove it before the interview. She said it’s her story, it’s her hat, and she wants to wear it. She’s a very challenging client.’      

Speaking about the interview, Ghatan revealed that she tried to reign Ponsetto in. 

‘I interrupted Miya several times, and I intervened several times. I made statements and tried my best, but she would cut me off and stop. It put me at a disadvantage to help her.’  

Ponsetto’s arrest came after days of intense media coverage of the fracas at the hotel and demands by the teen’s family and activists that Ponsetto face criminal charges. 

The Harrold family have claimed the incident was racially motivated but Ponsetto has denied this. 

In a video recorded by the teen’s father, Ponsetto was seen pushing and grabbing both father and son.

She was recorded demanding the teenager’s phone, claiming he had stolen it from her. 

Harrold Sr can be heard in the recording telling Ponsetto to leave his son alone. 

Security video later released by the NYPD shows Ponsetto frantically grabbing at the teen as he tried to get away from her through the hotel’s front door. She’s seen clutching him from behind before both tumble to the ground. 

Moments after the scuffle ended, her missing phone was found in an Uber and returned to her by the driver, Harrold Sr has said.     

Ponsetto's lawyer (right) has said she is concerned for her client's mental health after Ponsetto (left) gave a rambling television interview hours before she was arrested

Ponsetto’s lawyer (right) has said she is concerned for her client’s mental health after Ponsetto (left) gave a rambling television interview hours before she was arrested 

NYPD detectives flew to California to help locate her after Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance signed off on charges of attempted robbery and felony fugitive from justice. 

The altercation drew comparisons to cases like that of Amy Cooper, a white woman who was charged with filing a false report for calling 911 and saying she was being threatened by ‘an African American man’ during a dispute in New York’s Central Park in May. 

His parents have said her arrest is ‘a start’.

‘I pray for her. In the context of all the excuses her attorney made, at this point it’s not even about an apology any more,’ the teen’s father told ABC’s Good Morning America on Friday.

The teen has been in music therapy ever since the incident, his family say. 

Ghatan told The Associated Press in an interview before the arrest that her client is ’emotionally unwell’ and remorseful for the ordeal. Ghatan said she spoke to her client earlier on Thursday and that ‘she strikes me as someone who’s unwell’.

She said Ponsetto ‘lashed out’ over worry about her phone disappearing and that it wasn’t racially motivated.

It ‘could have been anyone,’ she said. 

On Wednesday, Ghatan had claimed that Ponsetto was having an anxiety attack during the hotel incident and insisted that it was not racially motivated.  

‘Miya is young, She let her emotions get the best of her. That phone could have been in the hand of 90-year-old grandma, an Asian person.. someone black or blue. It wasn’t a race related issue. Things took a life of their own,’ Ghatan told NBC.  

The lawyer explained that Ponsetto had been traveling alone while visiting her father in New York City for Christmas. 

She had been relying on her phone to help her navigate the city and became nervous and ‘triggered’ after realizing she had lost it. 

‘She was a scared girl alone in a city she doesn’t know and lost her one point of contact for her numbers. She lost her mind for a hot minute. She is sorry,’ Ghatan said.   

She said Ponsetto has since acknowledged that she lost her temper and acted inappropriately and ‘wouldn’t do it again’. She now wants to ‘give peace to the family’ and apologize.

Ghatan previously said that she and Ponsetto contacted Crump, who is representing the Harrold family, in hopes of arranging a meeting but hadn’t heard back. 

‘It’s horrible, what happened. She certainly should not have done that. She has some things she has to work through with herself, control issues, anger management issues. Of course she knows that,’ Ghatan said.

‘She wants to clarify and give peace to the family. She’s mixed race. She specifically said it’s not about race. The way she talks, it’s not even an issue. It was the phone.’   

The lawyer denied accusations that Ponsetto was a ‘lady of privilege’, adding that she is of Puerto Rican descent who works ‘9-5 at a typical place’. 

Ponsetto’s arrest isn’t the first time she has had a brush with law enforcement. 

Court records obtained by TMZ showed Ponsetto was arrested twice for driving under the influence of alcohol last year – once in May and again in October.  

Those incidents followed a separate arrest back in February when she and her mother were charged for drunkenly refusing to leave a hotel in Los Angeles.       




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