It wouldn’t be a truly fitting closeout to 2020 without yet another incident of rampant “Karen” behavior on an innocent Black person. This time, a 14-year-old boy was physically attacked at a New York City hotel by a woman who accused him of stealing her iPhone.
The boy’s father, 40-year-old Keyon Harrold, is a prominent jazz musician who has worked with artists such as Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Snoop Dogg. He also appeared on the Grammy award-winning soundtrack for Miles Ahead—the 2015 Miles Davis jazz biopic starring Don Cheadle.
Harrold, who lives in Queens, had been staying at the boutique Arlo Hotel in Soho to help boost his creativity when the incident occurred on Saturday. The pair had just come down from their hotel room on their way to brunch when they encountered the unnamed woman, who immediately accused Harrold’s son of stealing her iPhone.
“I hate I have to post this!!!” Harrold captioned the video. “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.” He went on to explain what had transpired in detail, writing that the woman had lunged and attacked his son, scratching him in the process.
Not only was the woman not even a paying guest at the hotel, Harrold writes, but her phone was returned to her by an Uber driver shortly after the altercation took place.
“I wonder what would happen if it were different,” Harrold told the New York Times. “If it were a Black woman and there was a white 14-year-old.”
Harrold also, quite reasonably, took umbrage with the fact that the hotel manager seemed to take the woman’s side—as you can see in the video—asking his son to hand over the iPhone to “prove” that it didn’t belong to the woman.
“They assumed he was guilty,” Harrold explained. “The management didn’t even question her as to why she would even think he had the phone.”
The Arlo Hotel has since issued an apology to Harrold and his son on Instagram, and that hotel management had “promptly” contacted the police regarding the woman’s conduct.
Though, Harrold has not heard from the woman at the center of the dispute—but feels that she owes an apology.
“She definitely owes my son an apology, for sure,” Harrold added. “I don’t expect that, and if it were to happen, cool. If it doesn’t happen, it’s so much bigger than that. It’s a narrative of what shouldn’t happen in daily life in America, that’s what it is.”