Rant on Spanish talk gets backlash
Lawyer accused of racist tirade could lose his license after social media warriors go on the attack
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.