*A white woman, dubbed by the Internet as “SoHo Karen,” falsely accused a jazz musician’s 14-year-old Black son of stealing her iPhone and began lunging at him in attempts to retrieve it, only to realize that she had left it in an Uber after the driver returned the phone to her minutes later.
Video of the woman lunging at the teen in the lobby of a Manhattan hotel was filmed by the boy’s father, jazz trumpeter Keyon Harrold. He posted the video on Sunday with the caption, “I am furious!!! We see this crap happening all the time, but it hits different when it hits home!!!”
The musician, who has worked with the likes of Jay-Z and Beyoncé, said he and his son were headed to breakfast on Saturday when the woman “assaulted” them. The video shows her frantically telling a manager at the Arlo Hotel in SoHo that Harrold’s son had her phone.
“Take the case off that’s mine. Literally get it back,” she barks at the manager.
The teen insists that he’s holding his own phone, as Harrold asks the woman “You think there’s only one iPhone made in the world?”
The woman continues to say that “he has my phone,” before telling both father and son she won’t let them leave until the teen gives it back, then lunging after both of them.
At one point, Harrold can be heard asking the woman if she accused his son of theft simply because he is Black.
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While the video is 63 seconds long, Harrold, 40, says the encounter lasted about five minutes, during which the woman scratched him and tackled his son. He also criticized the manager for “advocating” for the woman.
“Watch as the manager advocates for the lady who is not even a hotel guest, insisting and attempting to use his managerial authority to force my son to show his phone to this random lady,” Harrold wrote. “He actually empowered her!!!”
After the Uber driver delivered her phone, Harrold said she didn’t apologize for the “traumatic” situation for his son, or to him, and neither did anyone at the hotel.
An Arlo spokesman did later apologize to Harrold and his son in a statement and said that while the manager called the cops and hotel security stepped in, “more could have been done to de-escalate the dispute.”
“We’re deeply disheartened about the recent incident of baseless accusation, prejudice and assault against an innocent guest of Arlo hotel,” the statement said.
The encounter brought to mind “Central Park Karen” Amy Cooper, who sparked outrage in May when she called police on a Black birdwatcher who had asked her to keep her dog on a leash.
Speaking to The New York Times on Sunday, Harrold said he was left “shell-shocked” by the incident and that he believed his son, Keyon Harrold Jr., was racially-profiled by the woman.
“I wonder what would happen if it were different, if it were a black woman and there was a white 14-year-old,” he said.
He said he worried about what would have happened if he hadn’t been there to protect his son, noting “I’ve seen people be hurt or even killed for less.”
In a follow-up post on Instagram, Harrold — who appeared on the Grammy-winning soundtrack for the 2016 Miles Davis biopic “Miles Ahead” — thanked fans for their support but warned Internet sleuths not to falsely accuse others of being the woman in the video.
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