Warning: This post contains graphic language.
A white man’s vitriolic rant in a Manhattan eatery Wednesday after overhearing employees speaking to customers in Spanish has gone viral.
In a video, originally posted to Facebook, the man can be heard angrily exclaiming, “This is America,” after complaining that staff members were communicating in Spanish. He has since been identified as attorney Aaron Schlossberg.
“Your staff is speaking Spanish to customers when they should be speaking English,” Schlossberg says to the manager at Fresh Kitchen, a midtown Manhattan restaurant. “My guess is they’re not documented, so my next call is to ICE to have each one of kicked out of my country.”
He went on to exclaim that he “pays for their welfare” and “their ability to be here,” and that speaking English was the “least they could do.”
Although the manager was infuriated by Schlossberg’s comments, he said he remained calm throughout their interaction.
“He’s a customer, so I had to stay professional and ask him to leave,” he told the New York Daily News. “That’s what I did.”
Not surprisingly, his outburst was met with emphatic resistance from both the people he was berating as well as onlookers in the restaurant, which included both throwing expletives at the ranting racist and laughing at him.
One of the women who seemingly incited his ire, Deena Suazo, a 34-year-old medical receptionist, was both shocked and confused by Schlossberg’s reaction.
“I speak Spanish and English. And I just might feel more comfortable ordering in Spanish,” she said. “It’s disgusting to me, in this day and age, that people think it’s OK to walk around and be disrespectful and racist. The United States is made of all cultures and ethnicities.”
Wednesday’s video has received almost five million views and has been met with an outpouring of derision on social media. Many have taken to giving Schlossberg’s law firm unfavourable reviews on Yelp, while others have started online petitions calling for his disbarment and for discipline from the state bar association. One GoFundMe doubled its goal of raising $500 to hire a mariachi band to play La Cucaracha at his office in order to “cheer up the staff and attorneys at The Law Office of Aaron M. Schlossberg Esq. P.L.L.C. after a difficult day.”
Ironically, Schlossberg’s website indicates that he speaks Spanish and conversational French, and has basic knowledge of Mandarin and Hebrew.
The attorney’s identity was revealed thanks to some clever crowdsourcing by black rights activist Shaun King, who also unearthed a video from 2016 in which Schlossberg can be seen approaching a stranger on a New York sidewalk and calling him an ugly “foreigner.” The person he approached and verbally assaulted is a white man from Massachusetts. There was no provocation or altercation leading up to the encounter.
WATCH BELOW: Aaron Schlossberg accosts and verbally assaults a stranger on the sidewalk in 2016, calling him an ugly foreigner.
Others have also pointed to footage of Schlossberg at a rally of Jewish people supporting Palestinian rights in 2017. In the video, he can be seen yelling at Jewish protesters, “You are not a Jew.”
Global News has reached out to Aaron Schlossberg for comment.
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