Saturday, August 13, 2022

Father of Teen Attacked by ‘SoHo Karen’ Says She Would’ve Been Jailed If She Was Black [VIDEO]

Miya Ponsetto
Kenyon Harrold Jr. & Snr. – Miya Ponsetto

*Miya Ponsetto was famously dubbed “SoHo Karen” in 2020 after she physically assaulted a Black teenager she wrongly accused of stealing her cell phone at a hotel in New York City. 

On Monday, Ponsetto, 23, pleaded guilty to a felony — unlawful imprisonment in the second degree as a hate crime — for accusing 14-year-old Keyon Harrold Jr. of stealing her phone and then attacking him.

Keyon Jr. is the son of popular jazz musician Keyon Harrold Sr. During an interview with the New York Times, he expressed disappointment over the way hotel staffers handled the situation. They immediately assumed his son was guilty.

Harrold Sr. said if Ponsetto was a Black woman who had assaulted a white boy, the punishment would have been harsher. Hear more from him and his attorney Ben Crump via the clip below.

READ MORE: ‘SoHo Karen’ Pleads Guilty to Assaulting Black Teen She Accused of Phone Theft

“It is our belief, if Miya Ponsetto was an African American woman, and she committed assault and battery on a young white teenager, falsely, that she would have been charged and convicted of a felony,” famed civil rights attorney Ben Crump told the outlet. “There’s institutions that have the implicit bias cooked into their foundation. The individuals come and go, but the institutions produce the same outcomes.”

Harrold says Ponsetto has yet to apologize to his son.

“She’s never gone on the record to apologize to my son, not once,” he explained. “It’s traumatic to even think about, there’s trauma every time this is brought up.”

Harrold added, “I still don’t understand…what was going through her mind. What validated her, what made it even possible to attack a young kid in such a way. I don’t really understand it.”

“When Miya Ponsetto couldn’t find her cell phone, she defaulted to blaming and assaulting an innocent Black teenager and was aided by the Arlo Hotel staff, who backed her up instead of defending their Black guest,” Crump said in a statement, as reported by Newsone “It’s highly disappointing that she was permitted to plea down, only receiving probation.  We won’t change the culture until we hold people accountable for their outrageously bad behavior.”

As previously reported, Ponsetto will serve two years of probation and if she remains of out trouble during this time she can downgrade her sentence to a misdemeanor. She can withdraw the hate crime plea and instead plead guilty to aggravated harassment in the second degree, which is not a felony. 

“We are appreciative of the district attorney’s thoughtful and empathetic approach to finding an acceptable conclusion, especially in light of the unreasonable pressure brought to bear by many voices not familiar with the more granular details of what occurred that evening,” Paul D’Emilia, Ponsetto’s attorney, said in a statement.

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is an entertainment reporter with over 15 years of experience working in the film industry in areas including production and post-production, marketing, distribution, and acquisitions. She has worked for legendary film producer Roger Corman, Quentin Tarantino's production team at Miramax, the late Larry Flynt, MTV/ VH1, Hallmark Channel, Paramount, Jim Henson Co., Parade Magazine, and various LA-based companies representing above-the-line talent.




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