Miya Ponsetto, “The SoHo Karen”

Charlie Barron, Reporter

The Karen phenomenon from mid-2020 was extremely popular and engaging during its time in the sun, until the trend finally and predictably died down, but it now seems that a new Karen, dubbed “SoHo Karen”, has single-handedly reclaimed the country’s interest in public freakouts. 

Karen is a title given to a woman that acts cruel or bizarre towards others while being fuelled by a deep-seated sense of entitlement. A Karen can come in many forms, such as Kyle the male counterpart, or (although unlikely) a Karen of color, but a Karen’s most common form is that of a middle aged white woman who carries selfish and racist ideals. 

The genesis of the story of SoHo Karen took place on December 26, 2020, at the Arlo Hotel in SoHo. An altercation took place when the titular perpetrator accused and attacked a 14-year-old black teen because she thought he stole her phone. The woman tackled the boy in an attempt to get her phone back, but the boy did not have it and left quickly with his father soon after. The boy’s father, who turned out to be famous jazz musician Keyon Harrold, posted a video he took of the incident to his Instagram, with his caption stating “This sh*t happens so often. It needs to stop!!! If anyone recognizes this person, please tag or DM.”

The video went viral fast, and with more people being outraged by this woman’s clear racial profiling, more details came out about the scuffle. Although the woman was quickly and justly given the name “SoHo Karen” by the internet, she was also identified as Miya Ponsetto, a 22-year-old from California. Ponsetto had lost her phone and was concerned that it was at the Arlo Hotel, which places her in the hotel lobby in a concerned state. She then sees Keyon Harrolds’ son, Keyon Harrold Jr., and launches her accusations against them. In the clip, she is seen utilizing the hotel management staff against the family. Harrold Sr. brazenly defends his son and objects that this seemingly manic woman should go anywhere near his son, until Ponsetto forcefully charges Harrold Jr. The known facts state that Harrold Jr. obviously did not have the phone in his possession, and Harrold Sr. even claims that an Uber driver showed up minutes later returning her missing phone. This claim does get contradicted by Ponsetto’s testimony, which states that the hotel returned the phone soon after. 

After the incident, Miya Ponsetto went back home to California donning her new title of SoHo Karen. NYPD was clearly in support of the detainment of Ponsetto, as they had backed Harrold Sr. ‘s cellphone video of the incident with security recordings detailing a clearer view of the events on December 26. 

Ponsetto was given a platform to speak when she was interviewed by CBS, in which Ponsetto (wearing a baseball hat with the word “daddy” written on) was accompanied by her lawyer to answer the hard-hitting questions. She said “I consider myself to be super sweet. I really never, ever meant for it to hurt him or his father either.” Ponsetto then admitted that she did not check out or accuse anybody else in the lobby prior to Harrold Jr. The Harrold family did claim that the incident left their young son traumatized, to which Ponsetto was skeptical because she says that they took part in a meal shortly after. The interviewer also picked up on the fact that Ponsetto kept bringing up how she was part Peurto-Rican, so CBS asked “does that mean you can’t be racist? Because you’re saying you’re a woman of color?” Ponsetto replied “exactly.”

A couple hours after the interview took place, Miya Ponsetto was arrested in Ventura County. She is being charged with attempted robbery, grand larceny, endangering the welfare of a child, and attempted assault.

Miya Ponsetto is being defined by her racial profiling and dangerous sense of entitlement, which is exactly what makes her a Karen. While she is both young and not fully white, her actions are speaking much louder than her appearance. A video from October of 2020 recently surfaced containing SoHo Karen herself getting detained for a DUI alongside her mother. As she is being cuffed, she is heard remarking that the Police are a joke and how they shouldn’t arrest her because she’s a girl. More information is still coming out about her history of public intoxication and drunk driving arrests. Ponsetto is back in Los Angeles as of now and remains bitter.