A woman who has come to be known as ‘SoHo Karen’ for falsely accusing a black teenage of theft in Manhattan on Monday walked back her now-infamous televised non-apology to the 14-year-old boy and his jazz musician father.
‘I just wish I had apologized differently,’ Miya Ponsetto, 23, told the New York Post before her status hearing in the Manhattan Supreme Court.
Ponsetto previously pleaded not guilty to charges of unlawful imprisonment as a hate crime, aggravated harassment and endangering the welfare of a child, which could see her facing up to 10 years in prison.
Ponsetto’s attorney, Paul D’Emilia, informed the court that his client, who lives in California, has been seeing a therapist and trying to schedule anger management classes.
She went viral last year after attacking 14-year-old Keyon Harrold Jr. in the lobby of upscale boutique hotel Arlo Soho on December 26, 2020 and falsely accusing him of stealing her iPhone. Harrold Jr. is the son of jazz musician Keyon Harrold.
She later discovered that she forgot her phone in an Uber, and the driver returned it to her.
Miya Ponsetto, 23, also known as ‘SoHo Karen,’ on Monday expressed regret for her previous non-apology to the black teen whom she had falsely accused of theft
Ponsetto, who was charged after falsely accusing a black teen of stealing her cell phone inside a boutique hotel last December, appeared at Manhattan Supreme Court on Monday
She remained defiant during ensuing media interviews, telling Gayle King earlier this year that she only regretted making the boy ‘feel inferior.’ She also denied that race played a role in the incident because she is a ‘woman of color.’
Ponsetto did offer a roundabout apology to the boy, saying: ‘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.
‘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?’
The CBS sitdown was marked by Ponsetto, wearing a black cap emblazoned with the word ‘Daddy,’ snapping at King and telling her, ‘Alright Gayle, enough’ as she was pressed on the incident and told she was ‘old enough to know better.’
Sitting outside the courtroom in a head-to-toe black ensemble on Monday, a seemingly humbled Ponsetto told The Post: ‘I feel like I made a mistake.’
In the course of the brief hearing, Ponsetto’s lawyer told the judge that he is trying to ‘resolve’ the hate crime charge in the case within the next few months.
D’Emilia also said he was waiting for a progress report – and a ‘possible diagnosis’ – from Ponsetto’s therapist.
The judge scheduled Ponsetto’s trial for January 10, 2022.
Speaking to DailyMail.com outside the courtroom, D’Emilia said he he believed his client was ‘grossly overcharged’.
‘She was charged with crimes that were greatly enhanced, if I could say that,’ he said. ‘We don’t feel those charges are appropriate, but hopefully there’s something that we can reach that will be satisfactory to everybody.’
She was joined by lawyer Paul D’Emilia, who later said his client was ‘grossly overcharged’
Ponsetto’s actions inside the boutique hotel were filmed by Grammy-winning African American jazz artist Keyon Harrold as she approached his son, Keyon Jr.
In the recording, Ponsetto is seen pushing and grabbing at the father and son, allegedly even scratching Keyon Sr’s hands as she attempted to snatch his cell phone, wrongly believing it to be hers.
Ponsetto, who lives in Los Angeles, was initially charged with assault and was permitted to fly back to California on bail, where she remains.
She was arraigned via video conference in June with three new counts: unlawful imprisonment as a hate crime, aggravated harassment and endangering the welfare of a child.
Ponsetto was initially charged with assault following the hotel scuffle, but was in June arraigned on three new counts: unlawful imprisonment as a hate crime, aggravated harassment and endangering the welfare of a child
Ponsetto’s actions inside the boutique hotel were filmed by Grammy-winning African American jazz artist Keyon Harrold (right) as she approached his son, Keyon Jr. (left)
D’Emilia said the situation has left his client feeling shaken.
‘Obviously she gets a lot of unwanted attention. she gets a lot of inappropriate calls and letters and things like that,’ he said.
‘She’s just trying to get our life together. She’s working and just trying to get by and make the best of the situation. It’s a little frightening for her.’
Ponsetto remained unapologetic during ensuing media interviews, telling Gayle King that she only regretted making the boy ‘feel inferior’
Ponsetto was flown from her California home in January and charged for the alleged attack
Ponsetto claimed in interviews she’d been stopping everyone in the hotel lobby during the search for her missing phone.
‘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.
Moments after the hotel scuffle, an Uber driver reportedly returned the missing phone to Ponsetto.
Harrold and Keyon Jr.’s mother, Kat Rodriguez, staged a rally in Manhattan shortly after the incident alongside their attorney Ben Crump and Reverend Al Sharpton.
She is reportedly hoping to have the charges ‘resolved’ within the next few months
‘When I saw this story, I thought about how I was one of those kids whose father never took him anywhere for Christmas, never had brunch with my father,’ Sharpton said.
‘And for this Black man to take his Black son, put him in a hotel during a pandemic, and spend Christmas with him, raising him, and to be assaulted because of the color of their skin, I wanted to stand with this man and this woman who provided for their son, and they’re being criminalized for it. The arrogance and audacity of this woman.’