A Manhattan lawyer who was caught on video ranting against Spanish-speaking restaurant workers has been kicked out of his office space and faces a complaint from two elected officials, while community members have a Latin-themed party planned for outside his apartment Friday night.
The lawyer’s tirade prompted the two officials to send a letter to a disciplinary committee that oversees lawyers in the state. The power of the internet also went to work against him, with a fundraiser started to send a mariachi band to perform outside his office. A “Latin Party” is also planned outside his Upper West Side apartment from 4:30 to 8 p.m. Friday.
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The clip of the man yelling in a Manhattan restaurant went viral Wednesday, and he was identified through social media as attorney Aaron Schlossberg.
In the video, Schlossberg said he would be calling Immigration and Customs Enforcement to have the workers “kicked out of my country.” He complained to another restaurant employee that “it’s America” and that in a Manhattan eatery “staff should be speaking English.”
The clip quickly sparked outrage among many critics, including U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., who wrote to New York state’s court system, which has a grievance committee for attorney complaints. And a Change.org petition to have the attorney disbarred had more than 9,000 signatures by Thursday.
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Espaillat and Diaz, Democrats, called the video “vile” and said “the audacity to profile and verbally assault innocent bystanders and customers in a public commercial location is a violation of our civil society.”
It was unclear what action the disciplinary committee could take, if any. A message left with the committee was not immediately returned.
Schlossberg also didn’t respond to a call and an email seeking comment. When confronted by an NBC News crew on the street near his apartment building in Manhattan, Aaron Schlossberg didn’t respond when asked if he wanted to apologize to the people he disparaged in his racist tirade.
Wearing sunglasses and a beanie cap, he walked for several blocks trying to catch a cab, never making a single comment or answering a question. After failing to hail a cab, he sprinted from the NBC News crew, glancing over his shoulder several times.
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The social media furor turned up more instances of a man who appeared to be Schlossberg getting irate with others.
At a May 2017 protest of Linda Sarsour — an American Muslim political activist who was speaking at a CUNY graduation ceremony — Schlossberg can be heard screaming “Fake Jews” and “You are not a Jew” at counterprotesters who were Haredi Jews, according to witness Isaac Saul.
In October 2016, New York City tech consultant and video blogger Willie Morris posted a YouTube video recounting a disturbing run-in with Schlossberg. Morris said Schlossberg, a complete stranger, beelined straight into him on the sidewalk and started yelling at him: “What country are you from? I’m going to call the police. You don’t run into me. I’m a citizen here, you’re not. You’re an ugly f—–g foreigner. F— you.” Morris noted afterwards that he was born in Massachusetts and held up his United States passport.
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Another video from a Latinos for Trump rally in New York City — of which the date is unclear — shows Schlossberg taunting counterprotesters. And VICE News obtained video showing him outside Trump Tower wearing a MAGA hat and unleashing profanities at people protesting Trump.
Schlossberg’s bio on his website says he focuses on commercial and insurance coverage issues. It says besides English he speaks Spanish, French and some Hebrew and Chinese.
The company that runs the building Schlossberg uses as his law firm’s address said Thursday that his agreement with it had been terminated because his actions “were contrary” to its rules and regulations.
New York City has a human rights law that protects against discrimination and harassment based on immigration status or national origin. The city’s Commission on Human Rights can investigate potential violations and levy fines.
The commission said it was aware of the Schlossberg matter but wouldn’t comment on whether it was or would be the subject of an investigation.
The city has always been home to multiple languages, and there are anywhere from 600 to 800 languages spoken in the metropolitan region, said Ross Perlin, co-director of the Endangered Language Alliance.
“This is the most linguistically diverse city,” he said, “not only in the world but in the history of the world.”
And if Schlossberg wanted to speak the city’s indigenous language, Perlin said, it wouldn’t be English. He’d have to learn the Native American language of Lenape.
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