Miya Ponsetto charged with hate crime after attack on Black teen in NY hotel

'Soho Karen' was charged with two felony counts of unlawful imprisonment and two misdemeanor counts of aggravated harassment and endangering the welfare of a child

Loading the player...

The woman who went viral after falsely accusing a Black teenager of stealing her phone has been charged with a hate crime.

Miya Ponsetto was charged with two felony counts of unlawful imprisonment in the 2nd degree as a hate crime, and two misdemeanor counts of aggravated harassment and endangering the welfare of a child, to which she pled not guilty on Wednesday.

According to TMZ, Ponsetto’s attorney, Paul D’Emilia, blasted Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance saying, “Instead of helping to foster a civil and enlightened resolution to an unfortunate incident between two young people, DA Vance chose a craven and opportunistic path in indicting, with felony hate crime charges.”

The 22-year-old woman went viral in December 2020 after she was shown on video attacking the 14-year-old son of Grammy Award-winning jazz musician Keyon Harrold at the Arlo Hotel in SoHo, New York. His father shared the video to his Instagram and it became a global news story. 

Miya Ponsetto thegrio.com
(Credit: Ventura County Sheriff’s Office)

On the viral video, Ponsetto is seen lunging at Harrold and his son saying that the boy has his phone. “Her eyes were red, [she] looked at me and said ‘He has my phone,” Harrold Sr. recounted of what happened after he and his son stepped off the elevator, as previously reported.

The woman made a beeline for the 14-year-old as Harrold tried to maintain his composure and explain that his son would not need to steal an iPhone.

In the video, the hotel manager stood by and allowed the situation to play out, even encouraging the boy to show Ponsetto the phone. The Harrold family has filed a lawsuit against the hotel. 

Ultimately, Ponsetto’s phone was returned by an Uber driver. 

The young woman, who has been previously arrested for public intoxication and driving under the influence, has claimed that she suffers from anxiety. 

Miya Ponsetto Keyon Harrold Jr., thegrio.com
Miya Ponsetto

In an interview earlier this year with Gayle King of CBS News, Ponsetto earned no public goodwill. She appeared to be dismissive of King and the situation and charges she was facing. 

As King calmly addressed Ponsetto, saying, “You have to at least understand your actions that day. You seem to have attacked this little boy, this young boy, this teenager — you seemed to have attacked this teenager about the phone, and then it turned out he didn’t even have your phone. That’s the thing. I mean you’re saying, look, “I’m 22 years old.”

With her hand raised toward the screen, Ponsetto interrupted King.

“Alright, Gayle, enough. The hotel did have my phone. The hotel did end up having my phone. I did get my belongings returned to me.”

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s new podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!

TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Roku. Download theGrio today!

Loading the player...