Keyon Harrold is a Black musician who posted a video on Instagram he says shows his 14-year-old son being falsely accused of stealing an iPhone from a white woman at Arlo SoHo Hotel in New York City and then being assaulted by her. The woman in the viral video has been identified as 22-year-old Miya Ponsetto of Simi Valley, California. More information about her is available here.
The video shows Harrold telling the woman and a manager at the hotel that his son did not take the phone, and then shows the unidentified woman assaulting him and his son while they tried to leave. According to Harrold, the woman’s Uber driver later came to the hotel to give her iPhone to her, saying she had forgotten it in his car.
Harrold wrote on Instagram about the December 26 incident, “Her phone was magically returned by an Uber driver a few minutes after this incident. No apology from her after this traumatic situation to my son, not me. No apologies from the establishment.” Heavy could not immediately reach Harrold for comment. It is not clear if either Harrold or the woman has filed a complaint related to the incident.
Arlo Hotels said a statement to Heavy, “We’re deeply disheartened about the recent incident of baseless accusation, prejudice and assault against an innocent guest of Arlo hotel. In investigating the incident further, we’ve learned that the manager on duty promptly called the police regarding the woman’s conduct and that hotel security intervened to prevent further violence; still, more could have been done to de-escalate the dispute. No Arlo guest – or any person – should be subject to this kind of behavior. We want to apologize to Mr. Harrold and his son for this inexcusable experience, and have reached out to them directly to express our sincere regret and to offer help in dealing with this traumatic event. We are committed to making sure this never happens again at any of our hotels.”
The hotel also wrote in an Instagram comment on Harrold’s post, “Hello, we are extremely sorry that this happened and we are looking into this right away. We will send you a direct message and try to rectify the situation. Once again, our deepest apologies.”
Harrold Says the Woman Scratched Him & ‘Tackled & Grabbed’ His 14-Year-Old Son After Trying to Get the Manager to Stop Them From Leaving the Hotel Lobby
The 1-minute video shows part of the incident involving Harrold, his 14-year-old son, the unidentified woman and the Arlo SoHo Hotel employee who identified himself as a manager. Harrold posted the video on December 26, a few hours after the incident occurred. Harrold said he and his son were staying at the hotel and had come downstairs to the lobby area to have breakfast when they were confronted by the woman.
Harrold wrote, “This person quote on quote ‘lost’ her iPhone, and apparently, my son magically acquired it, which merely ridiculous. This incident went on for five more minutes, me protecting my son from this lunatic. She scratched me; she Tackled and grabbed him. He is a child!!! Now watch it again.”
The video shows the masked woman talking to a manager, who is holding a laptop. Harrold’s son can be heard saying, “This is my phone.” Harrold then tells him, “You don’t have to explain nothing to her” as the woman asks Harrold’s son to show her his phone. She then says to the manager, “He took the case off, that’s mine, literally get it back please.” Harrold then responds, “Are you kidding me? You feel like there’s only one iPhone made in the world?”
The woman then tells Harrold the “Find My iPhone” setting is off on her phone and points at his son and says its her phone he is holding. The hotel manager then starts to question Harrold’s son, and Harrold tells him he doesn’t have the authority to talk to him. The manager says, “I’m trying to settle this situation.”
When Harrold says his son has nothing to do with the woman, she says, “Then show me the proof. He’s not leaving. Show me the proof.” The woman then runs to follow Harrold and his son down a hallway yelling, “I’m not letting him walk away with my phone. She then lunges at Harrold and falls to the ground, telling a security officer to get her phone back. The video ends with the woman shoving Harrold.
Harrold Said in His Post, ‘This S*** Happens So Often’
Harrold wrote in his Instagram post, “This s*** happens so often. It needs to stop!!! If anyone recognizes this person, please tag or DM.” He wrote earlier in the post, “I hate I have to post this!!! I am furious!!! We see this crap happening all the time, but it hits different when it hits home!!! I typically try to keep things positive, but nothing about this video is positive.”
Harrold wrote on Instagram, “This lady is not even a guest at the hotel. She checked out of the hotel on the 23rd of December; today is the 26th. Now watch as the manager advocates for the lady who is not even a hotel guest, insisting and attempting to use his managerial authority to force my son to show his phone to this random lady. He actually empowered her!!! He didn’t even consider the fact we were actually the guests!”
Harrold added, “Think about the trauma that my son now has to carry, only coming downstairs to have box day brunch with his dad.”
The mother of Harrold’s 14-year-old son, Katty Rodriguez, also posted a message on Instagram about the incident. She wrote:
Before posting this video yesterday, we prayed about how this would impact us as a family and above all how it would impact our son. We asked for advice from professionals and weighed the decision for several hours. The only reason we decided to go public and post on social media was because the hotel which had a security guard on duty let this young lady leave while waiting for the police to respond after she assaulted my son several times which is not seen on this video because my sons father dropped the phone to protect our son! The police came and filed a report and said we would have to wait 3 days. The hotel just went about their business after basically sweeping it under the rug with an ‘sorry this happened to you.’ Not until they were faced with scrutiny through social media did they answer a post on Instagram. They answered a post on Instagram instead of going to my son and his fathers room which they were still checked in.
We are hurt and saddened but we are not people who want anyone to be falsely accused or want to ruin someone’s life. Let’s be mindful and spread love through this hatefulness. We will share the guilty party when we properly ID them. Until then, please do to others as you would want them to do to you.
A woman who runs a travel Instagram account was misidentified by some on social media as the woman in the video. Franchesca Vega, who uses the name “miatravelgirl” on Instagram, said she is not the woman in the video, and Harrold confirmed it is not her. Vega posted a photo at a different Arlo hotel.
Vega wrote on Instagram, “This morning I became a victim of social media harassment and cyber bullying. I have been falsely accused of racism when a video of an incident that happened on December 26th, in Arlo Soho NY surfaced the internet. I would like to take this opportunity to bring awareness to the topic and the victims Keyon Harrold @keyonherrold and his son. What that girl did was appalling and deserves to be punished. Being a minority myself and victim of racism in the past, I do not condone racism of any sort. I’ve been with my family for the holidays. With all the things that are happening in the world in this time. It is very sad, the pain and suffering that people can cause when they act before thinking rational.”
Vega added, “As human beings we must always think twice before we act and speak. We are all humans. We are one! regardless of skin color or origin. If this world was ruled by love instead of hate, these things would not happen. Keyon and his 14 year son don’t deserve to be a victim of racism, as I don’t deserve a victim of cyber bullying or anyone else for that matter. No minorities or anyone deserves to be victims of these horrid acts. I Don’t deserve this harassment from anyone. I’ve received multiple hurtful and threatening phone calls, text messages, and emails; I’m in fear for my safety as well as my family’s. Please stop! I’m not that person in the Video.”
Harrold Is a Jazz Trumpeter, Vocalist, Songwriter & Producer Who Has Worked With Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Rihanna, Common & D’Angelo & He Was Called ‘the Future of the Trumpet’ by Wynton Marsalis
Harrold, a 40-year-old St. Louis native, is a popular jazz trumpeter, vocalist, songwriter and producer, who has worked alongside Common, Rihanna, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, D’Angelo and many other major stars in the music business. In 2017, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis told Downbeat that Harrold is the “future of the trumpet.”
Harrold released his first solo album, Introducing Keyon Harrold, in 2009 and played the trumpet for the soundtrack to the 2015 Miles Davis biopic Miles Ahead starring Don Cheadle. His second album The Mugician was released in 2017.