'SoHo Karen' Pleads Guilty to Felony Hate Crime
Black Lives Matter

'SoHo Karen' Pleads Guilty to Felony Hate Crime

This article has been updated with new information.

Miya Ponsetto plead guilty to a felony hate crime after she falsely accused and attacked a Black teenager of stealing her phone.

Backin July 2021, the woman better known as "SoHo Karen" plead not guilty to two counts of second-degree unlawful imprisonment as a hate crime, second-degree aggravated harassment and endangering the welfare of a child. However, she has since changed her plea after striking a deal with the District Attorney in April 2022.

According to TMZ, she will no longer face any jail time as part of the arrangement, so long as she lives a "law-abiding life" for two years, follows the terms of her probation and continues to attend therapy. Upon the completion of her sentence, she will be able to re-plead to a misdemeanor charge of aggravated harassment in the second-degree. If not, she could get up to four years in prison.

Prior to the hate crime charges, Ponsetto was already set to stand trial for grand larceny, attempted robbery, attempted assault and acting in a manner injurious to a child over the incident at the time. At the time, her attorney pushed back on the charges by saying the "absurd" case was a "brazen and clear overreach of the intent of the statute" before accusing then-outgoing Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance of "perverting" the legal system.

"As truly violent criminals maraud and run rampant through New York City, this DA exhibits zero interest in law-enforcement and prosecution," Paul D'Emilia said in the statement following Ponsetto's indictment. "Instead, he turns his prosecutorial fury on a distraught and panicked young woman stranded without her lifeline, her phone, thousands of miles from home. Shameful."

The charges were in response to a viral video of the 22-year-old following and shouting at 14-year-old Keyon Harrold Jr. in the lobby of the Arlo SoHo hotel — where the teen was staying with his father — the previous December. Security footage also seemed to show her trying to tackle him. That said, Ponsetto's phone was later returned after her Uber driver realized she had left it in the car.

In a subsequent interview with Gayle King on CBS' This Morning, Ponsetto denied accusations that she had racially profiled Harrold, before apologizing to the family and admitting she could've reacted differently. However, she also went on to allege that the teen's father had assaulted her by pulling her hair and pushing her down.

Eventually, Ponsetto was arrested in January by Ventura County police at her California home, though officers had to forcibly remove her from a car as she resisted arrest. Harrold's family has also since filed a civil suit against her, the hotel and the hotel's manager for allegedly violating New York's human rights laws, assault and infliction of emotional distress.

Photo via Getty / Ventura County Sheriff's Office


The Saintly Queens of 'RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars' 9

Story by Andrew Nguyen / Photography by Devin Kasparian