Rant on Span­ish talk gets back­lash

Lawyer ac­cused of racist tirade could lose his li­cense af­ter so­cial me­dia war­riors go on the at­tack

The Mercury News Weekend - - BUSINESS - By Levi Su­ma­gaysay lsuma­gaysay@ba­yare­anews­group.com

A white man’s rant against em­ploy­ees speak­ing Span­ish in a New York restau­rant has gone vi­ral as in­ter­net sham­ing ex­poses his ugly sen­ti­ments, fur­ther blow­ing Amer­ica’s racial is­sues wide open.

Af­ter a video of the man yelling at em­ploy­ees in a Fresh Kitchen for speak­ing Span­ish and threat­en­ing to call Im­mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms Enforcement on them was posted on Face­book and Twit­ter, the in­ter­net took just a few hours Wed­nes­day to fig­ure out who he is: a Man­hat­tan lawyer named Aaron Schloss­berg, ac­cord­ing to Shaun King, a colum­nist at the In­ter­cept, who was among the first to post the video.

“Your staff is speak­ing Span­ish to cus­tomers when they should be speak­ing English,” the­man said to a dif­fer­ent em­ployee in the video. “He spoke it, he spoke it, she’s speak­ing it,” he said, clearly ex­as­per­ated. “This is Amer­ica.”

Ironic, then, that Schloss­berg’s busi­ness web­site touts his flu­ency in Span­ish. His bi­og­ra­phy on the site says, “He is flu­ent in Span­ish, con­ver­sa­tional in French and has ba­sic knowl­edge of Man­darin Chi­nese and He­brew.”

Schloss­berg has not re­turned an emailed re­quest for com­ment to con­firmwhether he is the man in the video. His busi­ness phone num­ber went straight to voice­mail.

Thurs­day, Rep. Adri­ano Es­pail­lat, the Demo­cratic con­gress­man for New York’s 13th Dis­trict, and Bronx Bor­ough Pres­i­dent Ruben Diaz Jr. filed a le­gal com­plaint with the De­part­men­tal Dis­ci­plinary Com­mit­tee for the First Depart­ment of the New York State Uni­fied Court Sys­tem. They urge a re­view of Schloss­berg’s be­hav­ior and “a pos­si­ble re­vo­ca­tion” of his law li­cense.

Ed­ward Suazo, who first posted the video on Face­book, wrote, “So my wife and her best friend just ex­pe­ri­ence (sic) what Amer­ica is be­com­ing.”

He said his wife and her friend were the ones who were speak­ing in Span­ish with the restau­rant em­ploy­ees.

The in­ter­net sham­ing has been as brutal as Schloss­berg’s rant against the Span­ish speak­ers, although the pre­vail­ing sen­ti­ment on so­cial­me­dia is that he de­serves it. His rant is only the lat­est of a rash of videos showing racism in Amer­ica in 2018.

Peo­ple who know the at­tor­ney have reached out to King, who has tweeted out other videos of Schloss­berg be­hav­ing badly — his dis­dain for im­mi­grants and for­eign­ers ap­pears to be noth­ing new.

A white man from Mas­sachusetts posted a video of a man who ap­pears to be Schloss­berg be­rat­ing him for be­ing an “ugly for­eigner” two years ago when he en­coun­tered him on Fifth Av­enue.

An­other video shows a man who ap­pears to be Schloss­berg chant­ing “Milo ( Yiannopou­los)” at a protest last year, and rail­ing against “fake Jews.”

In an­other video, a man who ap­pears to be Schloss­berg is seen de­fend­ing Pres- ident Don­ald Trump as “not racist” at a rally or­ga­nized by a His­panic group. It’s un­clear when the video was shot, but it was up­loaded to YouTube onWed­nes­day and posted by the group His­panos En Los Es­clavos Unidos on its Face­book page — with a warn­ing to peo­ple to watch out for the guy.

Ac­cord­ing to the Cen­ter for Re­spon­sive Pol­i­tics’ OpenSe­crets site, Schloss­berg do­nated $ 500 to Trump’s pres­i­den­tial cam­paign in 2016.

Be­sides the videos, here’s a sam­pling of how else the in­ter­net is do­ing its thing:

On Yelp, Twit­ter, Face­book and Change.org, peo- ple are call­ing for him to be dis­barred. So many peo­ple have signed a Change.org pe­ti­tion call­ing on the New York State Bar to take ac­tion that it has posted a re­sponse say­ing Schloss­berg does not be­long to the state bar — de­spite a claim on his web­site that he does — and that peo­ple should take their con­cerns to the New York state court sys­tem. As men­tioned above, that’s pre­cisely what a cou­ple of New York of­fi­cials have done. “This in­di­vid­ual has had a trou­bling his­tory of hate­ful be­hav­ior, while the White House is send­ing a clearmes­sage that you can say any­thing and get away with it,” said Rep. Es­pail- lat — whose spokes­woman said that his of­fice re­ceived hundreds of com­ments from con­stituents about the mat­ter — in a state­ment Thurs­day. “The Trump Ad­min­is­tra­tion’s pro­posed poli­cies that would tear im­mi­grant chil­dren away from their fam­i­lies and most recently call­ing in­di­vid­u­als an­i­mals is sim­ply out­ra­geous. We are send­ing this griev­ance to say that you can­not en­gage in xeno­pho­bia, big­otry, hate and get away with it.”

Yelpers are flood­ing the rat­ings site with one-star reviews of Schloss­berg’s law firm, so much so that Yelp has posted on that page that it is do­ing an “ac­tive cleanup”: “This busi­ness recently made waves in the news, which of­ten means that peo­ple come to this page to post their views on the news.” Many of the reviews call Schloss­berg racist.

There’s aGoFundMe cam­paign called “Mari­achis For Aaron Schloss­berg,” and it has raised $1,009 of the $500 goal, although a note on the cam­paign says a mari­achi band has of­fered to play for free. Oh, and there will be tacos.

And on Google as of Thurs­day­morn­ing, a search on mo­bile for “Law of­fice of Aaron M. Schloss­berg” brings up an im­age of a Mex­i­can restau­rant.

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