What to Know
- NYC attorney Aaron Schlossberg was captured on now viral video threatening to call immigration on cafe workers he heard speak Spanish
- The video got 5 million views in the first two days it was posted
- Schlossberg has faced extensive backlash -- and he has physically run from it on more than one occasion
A full-paragraph apology has been posted to Twitter and LinkedIn accounts linked to the Manhattan lawyer whose racist rant in a midtown cafe became viral international fodder last week, though it couldn't immediately be verified if he was the one who posted the messages.
The statement, which began simply, "To the people I insulted, I apologize," landed on @ASchlossbergLaw's Twitter feed at 12:01 p.m. Tuesday. The same statement was also posted to his LinkedIn page at that time.
The lawyer, Aaron Schlossberg, has been excoriated in the court of public opinion since a cafe patron captured video of him threatening to call immigration enforcement on workers when he heard them speaking in Spanish.
The statement said the online backlash has "opened my eyes -- the manner in which I expressed myself is unacceptable and is not the person I am. I see my words and actions hurt people, and for that I am deeply sorry."
"While people should be able to express themselves freely, they should do so calmly and respectfully," the statement continued. "What the video did not convey is the real me. I am not racist."
The Twitter account is not verified, but does show a history of posts about Schlossberg's legal work, many of which link directly to his LinkedIn page, where the apology was listed at the top of "Aaron's Articles & Activity."
Schlossberg's rant was recorded last Tuesday at sandwich shop Fresh Kitchen on Madison Avenue between 39th and 40th. Emily Serrano said she was speaking with her server — who speaks both Spanish and English — in Spanish, when she heard a man yelling next to her.
"He's screaming at the guy serving him, 'Give me my f------ sandwich, you shouldn't be speaking Spanish, I feel disrespected, go back to your country,'" Serrano said. NBC 4 cannot independently verify what happened before or after the video Serrano shot.
"Your staff are speaking Spanish to customers when they should be speaking English... every person I listen to... this is America!" he says in the video.
Schlossberg was kicked out of his midtown office as backlash brewed -- and he even tried to flee the controversy on foot, running from an NBC News reporter who confronted him near his apartment building on the street last week. The reporter asked him at the time if he wanted to apologize; he said nothing.
Schlossberg's rant, caught on video by a fellow customer, had more than 5 million views online in two days, and fallout for the lawyer hasn't stopped.
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The midtown building where Schlossberg had a part-time office evicted him, citing his "offensive" comments. Congressman Adriano Espaillat and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. have sent a letter to the disciplinary committee that oversees lawyers in New York state to file a formal complaint against Schlossberg.
There's also a Change.org petition to have him disbarred, an action the discipline committee of the New York State Unified Court System will not likely take. According to Jessica A. Levinson, a professor at Loyola Law School and president of the Los Angeles Ethics Commission, Schlossberg can't be stripped of his license to practice law in New York for the disparaging remarks because he did not invoke his law firm in order to intimidate the employees and did not engage in racism within his practice. His diatribe alone likely does not violate ethics rules, Levinson noted.
Fury against Schlossberg manifested online in classically snarky ways, too: his law office was inundated with one-star reviews on Yelp, forcing the site to suspend reviews for the business; a Google listing for his business briefly turned up a sly one-line description reading "Spanish restaurant"; and a GoFundMe page was set up to send a mariachi band to Schlossberg's office ("We are requesting the band to sing the famous, endearing and warm Spanish children's song La Cucaracha," declared the organizer of the fundraiser, called Mariachis for Aaron. As promised, the mariachi band showed up at both his office and outside his apartment building later in the week).
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Schlossberg appears to have a documented history of xenophobic and racist behavior. 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------ foreigner. F--- you."
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.