On Friday, CBS This Morning released part of an interview between journalist Gayle King and Miya Ponsetto. The 22-year-old white woman falsely accused 14-year-old Keyon Harrold Jr. of stealing her phone in the lobby of the Arlo Hotel in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood on December 26. She has since been dubbed the “SoHo Karen” for her racial profiling and demanding that the manager of the hotel help her during the incident.
After accusing Harrold Jr., who is Black, of theft, Ponsetto went on to physically attack him in an attempt to retrieve her phone — which, according to The New York Times, was later found in an Uber. Ponsetto, who was taken into police custody in California on Thursday on a fugitive warrant, failed to use the interview to apologize to Harrold Jr. and his father, who recorded the incident in the lobby. She also would not admit that her overreaction was racially charged. Instead, during the interview, Ponsetto further solidified her position of privilege through her denial of any wrongdoing, dismissive and disrespectful attitude toward King whom she shushed, and choice of headgear: a black baseball cap with “Daddy” embroidered on the front.
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
Since the interview aired on Friday morning, the hat, a $16 cap from Urban Outfitters, has become a major topic of conversation, both on the news and social media. During the post-interview commentary, CBS reporter Anthony Mason called Ponsetto’s choice of headwear “interesting.” In turn, King shared that Ponsetto’s lawyer, Sharen Ghatan, suggested to her client prior to the interview that she remove the hat — a suggestion that Ponsetto dismissed.
According to Ghatan, prior to the interview, she instructed Ponsetto on what to wear, specifying that it be “business attire” with her hair down — a “clean-cut look appropriate for an interview.” “I was surprised to find her with sports clothes on and a cap,” she told Refinery29 shortly after the clip went viral. When Ponsetto refused to remove the hat, Ghatan asked the crew to step in. Even after being told it was bad for lighting, Ponsetto insisted on wearing it.
“I wanted to make certain that [Ponsetto’s] message was what was going to get across, and that it wasn’t going to get diluted by the hat and her non-traditional garb,” Ghatan explained. “Unfortunately, she wasn’t willing to heed my advice, and she proceeded to maintain herself in a different manner and with a defiant tone with both [King] and myself.”
It’s the lack of accountability for me. Her apology: “If I made him feel…” Really?!? What delusional planet does #MiyaPonsetto reside on? And she was not trying to come out of that “daddy” baseball cap; even at the advice of her attorney. https://t.co/BfKl0zgZIF
— D’Ondra Marie Arnold (@Spoiled1inc) January 8, 2021
Twitter users were quick to respond to the look. “I can’t decide whether Miya Ponsetto telling Gayle King ‘enough’ or the fact that her baseball hat says ‘daddy’ is more telling about this young woman’s entitlement,” wrote Cynnie Woodward in a tweet. D’Ondra Marie Arnold, wrote: “It’s the lack of accountability for me. Her apology: ‘If I made him feel…’ Really?!? What delusional planet does Miya Ponsetto reside on? And she was not trying to come out of that ‘daddy’ baseball cap, even at the advice of her attorney.”
22 year old Miya Ponsetto in this “Daddy” hat on @GayleKing’s show calling herself a “little girl” who is “not racist” despite physically attacking a Black teenager she’d accused of stealing her phone is very on brand for week two of Hellscape 2021 pic.twitter.com/T3CQ48oDvx
— Joshua Ryan (@stepmomdaddy) January 8, 2021
A hat bearing current slang for an authoritative, sexy man is an extremely disrespectful fashion choice for a television interview in which a major journalist — herself a Black woman — offers a white woman the chance to attempt to explain her abhorrent actions. But the hat symbolizes Ponsetto’s complete lack of understanding for how her privilege seeps into every moment of the encounter with Harrold Jr. and the media coverage she’s since received. As a white woman, Ponsetto can scoff at her lawyer’s advice; she has maintained she was in the right since the attack. She doesn’t need to think about the respectability standards Black people have to uphold just to exist in the United States in the 21st century. Ponsetto’s Daddy hat is a beacon signaling ignorance and white privilege, things she seems all too willing to embrace.
Ponsetto was given a chance to reflect on her behavior, realize what she’d done wrong, acknowledge her wrongdoing, and apologize to Harrold Jr. and his father — an opportunity many Black people accused of crimes never get. Instead, she showed up dressed in a manner that said, “I’m innocent and no one can tell me otherwise.” That, and, “I’ll get away with this.”
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