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Attorney Schlossberg Apologizes For Rant Caught On Video Targeting Spanish Speakers

May 22, 2018 - 2:24 pm
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Attorney Aaron Schlossberg issued an apology Tuesday, after being caught on a video that went viral threatening to call federal immigration officials on workers at a Midtown restaurant because they were speaking Spanish with customers.

“To the people I insulted, I apologize. Seeing myself online opened my eyes – the manner in which I expressed myself is unacceptable and 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,” Schlossberg wrote.

Schlossberg’s statement continued: “What the video did not convey is the real me. I am not racist. One of the reasons I moved to New York is precisely because of the remarkable diversity offered in this wonderful city. I love this country and this city, in part because of immigrants and the diversity of cultures immigrants bring to this country. Again, my sincerest apologies to anyone and everyone I hurt. Thank you.”

Edward Suazo, who posted the clip of Schlossberg on his Facebook page, said his wife and her best friend had stopped in for lunch and were speaking in Spanish with one of the employees as they were ordering their food.

That apparently set off the tirade.

"Your staff is speaking Spanish to customers when they should be speaking English," Schlossberg is seen telling a manager. "Every person I listen to, he spoke it, he spoke it, she's speaking it. It's America. Your staff should be speaking English."

Schlossberg then threatens to contact officials with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

"I will be following up and my guess is they're not documented so my next call is to ICE to have each one of them kicked out of my country," Schlossberg says. "If they have the balls to come here and live off of my money -- I pay for their welfare, I pay for their ability to be here, the least they could do is speak English. You understand? If you intend on running a place in Midtown Manhattan your staff should be speaking English, not Spanish."

 

When a woman off camera tells him "because of people like you our nation is messed up," Schlossberg waves his phone at her and tells her he's "calling ICE" before adding, "Maybe you shouldn't eat that sandwich today. Take a break from the food."

The woman replies, "Maybe you should get hit by a car" as the man storms out.

The video drew swift and widespread consternation. Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a tweet saying New Yorkers speak more than 200 different languages and are all welcome.

Also on Twitter, former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said "this bigot must be exposed."

Meanwhile, the landlord who provided space for Schlossberg’s law practice kicked him out of the building.

U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-New York) and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. also filed a grievance against Schlossberg with the court system.

In a letter, Espaillat and Diaz wrote, “The audacity to profile and verbally assault innocent bystanders and customers in a public commercial location is a violation of our civil society. We watched Aaron’s video and we were disgusted.”

On Friday, a crowd turned out for a protest led by a mariachi band outside Schlossberg’s apartment.