Woman charged in phone attack accused of damaging NYC Airbnb; says she's 'like a woman of color'
11th January 2021

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The California woman dubbed “SoHo Karen” for allegedly attacking a 14-year-old who she believed took her cellphone was reportedly accused in a separate incident of damaging a New York City Airbnb, according to a recent report.

Miya Ponsetto, 22, allegedly damaged the door to an Airbnb in New York City’s East Village on Dec. 26 – the same day she was accused of trying to rob and assault the teenager – and used a fire extinguisher to try to get into an apartment after getting locked out, the New York Post reported.


The newest allegations reportedly came to light during Ponsetto’s arraignment on charges in connection with her confrontation with 14-year-old Keyon Harrold Jr., whose father, jazz trumpeter Keyon Harrold, filmed the encounter.

The 22-year-old woman caught on camera allegedly physically attacking a 14-year-old Black teen and falsely accusing him of stealing her phone was arrested in California. In an exclusive interview, Miya Ponsetto and her lawyer spoke with @GayleKing hours before she was arrested. https://t.co/ezaGkcWZ8j
(CBS screenshot)

Ponsetto, a White woman, was seen on the now-viral footage wrongly accusing a Black teenager of stealing her cellphone and tackling him at a SoHo hotel. The video shows the agitated woman demanding the teenager’s phone, claiming he stole it. Her cellphone was found soon afterward in an Uber.

Ponsetto has since been nicknamed “SoHo Karen,” with “Karen” being a pejorative term used to describe an overly-entitled, offensive or demanding woman.

Ponsetto was charged Saturday with attempted robbery, grand larceny, acting in a manner injurious to a child and two counts of attempted assault, according to police. NYPD detectives flew to California last week with a warrant for the Piru resident’s arrest.

Security video released by police shows Ponsetto frantically grabbing at the teenager as he tried to get away from her through the hotel’s front door.

At her arraignment Saturday, the judge gave Ponsetto supervised release and granted orders of protection in favor of the victims, according to prosecutors.

Defense attorney Paul D’Emilia said Ponsetto was innocent of the charges and that the case “will be resolved in our courts and not through social media.”

“We are puzzled and disappointed that at this time of heightened tensions in our country that the authorities chose to exacerbate the situation by needlessly flying members of the NYPD across the country, into the teeth of COVID, to bring back a person who would have returned with a simple telephone request,” D’Emilia said in an email to the Associated Press.

In the second part of what had already been a volatile interview with “CBS This Morning,” Ponsetto argued that she should not be considered racist because she, too, is a person of color.

“I wasn’t racial profiling whatsoever. I am Puerto Rican, I am like a woman of color. I’m Italian, Greek, Puerto Rican,” she said during the segment, which aired Monday.

When reporter Gayle King asked if she believed a person of color could not be racist, Ponsetto responded: “Exactly.”

The combative interview – which was similar in nature to the first part – was conducted Thursday, hours before Ponsetto was arrested in Ventura County, Calif. Ponsetto could be heard interrupting King and her own attorney, Sharen H. Ghatan.

When asked what she could have done differently, Ponsetto said: “I think I could have just asked the hotel manager. So, yes, I could have stepped aside. Or the father and I, we immediately could have started just speaking at a lower tone and probably that would have handled the whole situation a lot better.”

When King asked her to go over the events at the hotel, Ponsetto said, “You already asked me that at the beginning of the interview. I’m not going over it again. I would like to have a real interview with real questions and real heart and real sincere apologies. Let 2021 be the moment of healing, seriously.”

She added that she is not much older than the teenager and is just as much “a kid at heart as he is.”

“I’m traumatized. And I’m sorry, I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart,” she said. “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.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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