Miya Taylor Ponsetto, 22, of California, United States was interviewed by “CBS This Morning” host Gayle King, 66, on the afternoon of January 7, 2021. The former, now dubbed the SoHo Karen, was beside a lawyer.
On December 26, 2020, Ponsetto attacked African-American jazz musician Keyon Harrold, 40, and his son Keyon Harrold Jr., 14, at the Arlo SoHo Boutique Hotel on 231 Hudson Street in New York City, New York, USA. She falsely accused the younger Harrold of stealing her iPhone, which turned out to be left in an Uber vehicle she previously took.
“Miya, help me understand,” King told Ponsetto. “What made you think Keyon had your phone? That’s why I’m confused. Why did you think he had it?”
“I was approaching the people that had been exiting the hotel because in my mind, anybody exiting is probably the one that had, uh, might be the one that is trying to steal my phone,” Ponsetto answered. “I admit, yes. I could’ve approached the situation differently or maybe not yelled at him like that and made him feel, you know, maybe some sort of, uh, inferior way, making him feel as if I was like hurting his feelings because that’s not my intention.”
“I consider myself to be super sweet,” Ponsetto continued. “I really never ever meant for it like to hurt him or his father either.”
“Are you saying that you’re stopping everybody in the lobby asking them about your phone?” King asked. “Is that what you’re saying?”
“Uhm, not everyone, just.. just the people that in the meantime while the hotel manager was checking the footage, I just wanted to do my part as best as I could,” Ponsetto answered. King went back to how she previously described herself,” You described yourself as super sweet.”
“I know you’ve seen the video,” King told Ponsetto. “When you look at the video, your reaction seems very extreme. It doesn’t seem like it’s someone who’s super sweet. How do you feel?”
“If you are alone in New York and you’re going to spend time with your family during the holidays and you lose the one thing that gets stolen from you that has all the access, that’s the only way you’ll be able to get back home…,” Ponsetto answered. She did not complete the sentence.
“I just don’t think I would randomly attack people,” King told Ponsetto. “I know you said you could’ve handled it better but I just don’t think I would randomly attack people in the manner in which you did. What do you think when you now look at that video? You’re standing there in your flip-flops and it looks like you’re just going nuts, for lack of better word.”
“I don’t feel like that’s who I am as a person,” Ponsetto answered. “I don’t feel like one mistake just define me but I do sincerely from the bottom of my heart apologize that if I made the son as if I have assaulted him or I have hurt his feelings or the father’s feelings-”
“I don’t believe one mistake defines anybody,” King interrupted. “But I think when I look at that particular video, you did more than just accuse him. The video seems to show that you physically attacked this young boy.”
“You do see that too, right?” King asked Ponsetto. The latter answered, “At the end of the day, the dad did end up like slamming me to the ground and pulling my hair and throwing me and dragging me across the ground so I will say that.”
“Yeah, but I think, you know, the video we saw, it looked like you just attacked his son,” King emphasized. Ponsetto agreed but followed up with a question, “Yeah, the footage shows me attacking his son, attacking him how? Yell at him? Yes. Okay, I apologize. Can we move on?”
” I know you’re saying ‘I don’t need to… I just wanna apologize’ but I do think that there should be some context to your actions that day-”
“Okay,” Ponsetto interrupted King. “So basically, I’m… I’m a 22-year-old girl. I’m, I don’t… Racism? Uh, it’s… How is one girl accusing a guy about a phone a crime?”
King almost laughed at the question. Ponsetto continued asking, “Where’s the context in that? What is the deeper, what is the deeper story here?”
“Miya, Miya,” King stopped Ponsetto. “That’s not the problem. You have to at least understand your actions. You seemed 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,” King continued. “That’s the thing. I mean you’re, you’re saying, ‘I’m, look, I’m 22 years old,’ you’re 22 years old but you are old enough to know better so I will say you’re 22-”
“Alright, Gayle, enough,” Ponsetto told King with a hand gesture. Hours after the interview, the woman dubbed the SoHo Karen was arrested in California.