On Sunday, a video posted to Instagram showed a woman being called Soho Karen falsely accusing a 14-year-old Black boy of stealing her iPhone during an incident that many believe to be racial profiling.
Keyon Harrold, a jazz trumpeter, who lives in New York, was in the lobby of Arlo Hotel in Manhattan on Saturday when a White woman acting hysterical started accusing his son, Keyon Harrold Jr., of stealing her phone as they were about to leave for breakfast.
The incident, which Harrold videoed and later posted to his Instagram account, shows a woman insisting that her phone has been stolen as she argues with the father and son and the hotel manager.
The woman also scratched Harrold and grabbed him and his son in her attempts to acquire what she believed was her phone.
Keyon Harrold can be heard telling the woman that the phone belongs to his son, to which the woman tells him to take the case off and show her, claiming it has been tracked with “Find My iPhone.”
At one point, Harrold asks if the accusation is because of race since he and his son are both African-American.
Five minutes into the altercation, the woman’s phone was returned by an Uber driver. On his Instagram post, Harrold, who has collaborated with Beyoncé, JAY-Z, John Legend, Rihanna, and Eminem, says he was “furious” by the situation, and racial profiling really “hit home” since this time it was his own son. He also shared his frustration about the hotel manager, who he said “empowered” the woman’s behavior.
Keyon Jr. appeared on Good Morning America on Tuesday, where he shared his story: “I don’t know what would have happened if my dad wasn’t there. These past few days, still kind of shell-shocked, but I’m hanging in there. For me, I was confused because I had never seen that lady ever and I didn’t know what to do in the moment. That’s why I was happy to have my dad here to help me.”
Arlo Hotel later released a statement to apologize to the father and son for the incident.
They said the hotel manager had called the police and involved security but admitted this was not enough and they were “deeply disheartened” by the situation.
The apology was not well received, with one social media user having this reaction: “Your manager and staff need disciplinary action! That was such a traumatic experience for the young 14-year-old child… The woman’s erratic behavior can be seen a mile away. it’s sad, and more needs to be done than “sorry.”
This person had this suggestion for the hotel: “Things that need to be done. 1.) Full refund and sizable donation made to charity 2.) Removal of hotel manager without pay 3.) File police report against woman who assaulted the hotel guest and son 4.) Arlo Hotels should cover any legal financial costs that the hotel guest and son may ensue if they choose to take legal action against the woman in civil court 5.) Mandatory training of all hotel staff …..And that would just be the start.”
New York police confirmed that they came to the hotel after reports of harassment. Influencer Cassandra Medina, a registered nurse, was identified by some as “Soho Karen,” she said that is not the case.