22-year-old Miya Ponsetto gave a testy interview to Gayle King hours before she was arrested for attacking a Black teenager she had falsely accused of stealing her iPhone in a New York hotel.
In an interview with “CBS This Morning” that was conducted Thursday afternoon and aired in part on Friday, Ponsetto — who was seen on hotel surveillance video tackling Keyon Harrold Jr., the 14-year-old son of jazz musician Keyon Harrold — denies that her actions on December 26 were racially motivated, claiming she approached several people exiting the hotel. (Police said her cellphone had been left in an Uber and was returned later that day.)
“I admit, yes, I could have approached the situation differently or maybe not yelled at him like that or made him feel some sort of inferior way, making him feel as if I was like, hurting his feelings, because that’s not my intention,” Ponsetto, who has been dubbed “SoHo Karen” by social media users, said. “I consider myself to be super sweet. I really never, never meant for it to hurt him, or his father either.”
When King pressed Ponsetto about physically attacking the young boy, Ponsetto accused the boy’s father of “slamming me to the ground and pulling my hair and throwing me and dragging me across the ground.”
While Ponsetto did not address her own assault allegations, she added, “The footage shows me attacking his son. Attacking him how? Yelling at him? Yes. Okay, I apologize, can we move on?”
“You seem to have attacked this… young boy… this teenager about your phone, and then it turned out he didn’t even have your phone,” King continued. “That’s the thing. You’re saying, ‘Look, I’m 22 years old,’ you’re 22 years old, but you are old enough to know better.”
In response, Ponsetto snaps at King, yelling, “Alright, Gayle — enough” before claiming that the hotel had her phone all along.
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.— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) January 8, 2021
In an exclusive interview, Miya Ponsetto and her lawyer spoke with @GayleKing hours before she was arrested. pic.twitter.com/ezaGkcWZ8j
Hours after the interview was conducted, Ponsetto was arrested outside her residence in Piru, California.
Per law enforcement sources, via TMZ, her arrest was a joint effort by the Ventura County Sheriff and the New York Police Department. The outlet adds that Ponsetto is expected to be charged with attempted robbery for falsely accusing and assaulting Harrold Jr.
Sources also say Ponsetto did not cooperate with authorities. Officers reportedly had to physically pull her out of her car. She allegedly attempted to slam the door on a deputy’s leg, which will likely result in additional charges of resisting arrest.
While TMZ says Ponsetto is being held without bail and will be extradited to NYC, People reports that it is unclear whether she will travel back to the East Coast for her arraignment.
In a different interview with NBC News, Ponsetto’s lawyer Sharon Ghatan appears to justify her client’s actions by saying she “suffers from a lot of anxiety attacks.”
“She was alone… 22 years old in a city she doesn’t know, absolutely nobody there, and her phone had everything about it,” Ghatan said.
Adding that Ponsetto was “emotionally and mentally unwell,” Ghatan continued, “She lost her mind for a hot minute. She is sorry… Sadly, these poor Harrolds had to deal with the aftermath.”