NEW YORK — A lawyer whose rant against workers speaking Spanish at a New York City restaurant issued an apology on Tuesday.
In a tweet from his law firm's Twitter account, Aaron Schlossberg said:
"To the people I insulted, I apologize. Seeing myself online 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. 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."
Schlossberg's tirade was caught on camera last week and posted to Facebook, where it since has been seen millions of times.
Witnesses told WPIX that a man, later identified as Schlossberg, wearing a white button-down shirt complained to a Fresh Kitchen manager about two employees taking lunch orders in Spanish.
When he heard the two workers speak Spanish to each other, witnesses said, he became irate.
“Every person I listened to, he’s spoke, he spoke, she’s speaking it. It’s America,” Schlossberg said in the video, scolding the manager.
He then accuses the Spanish speakers of being undocumented immigrants.
“And my guess is that they’re not documented so my next call is to ICE to have each one of them kicked out of my country,” he said. “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.”
Social activist Shaun King called on his followers to identify the man and several came forward to name Schlossberg as the man in the video.
Additional footage emerged of Schlossberg, including video of him at a pro-Trump rally and of a run-in he'd had with a man named Willie Morris, who said Schlossberg purposefully shoved him last October after they made eye contact on the sidewalk, according to WPIX.
Morris, who started recording his encounter, said Schlossberg became aggressive, threatening to call police and asking him, "What country are you from?"
"You don't run into people," Schlossberg tells Morris in the video. "I'm a citizen and you're not. You're an ugly f---ing foreigner so f---k you."
Schlossberg is a New York business and commercial law attorney who practices in Midtown Manhattan, about a block away from the restaurant where the encounter took place.
In the days after the video went viral, the fallout has been swift.
After he was identified, reviews for his business plummeted, with hundreds of commenters leaving messages referencing the video. Those comments have since been removed.
The company that runs the building where Schlossberg held his practice said it terminated its agreement with the attorney because his actions "were contrary" to its regulations.
Protests were staged outside Schlossberg's apartment building and his former office, with mariachi bands performing alongside signs that read "Se habla Spanish" and "Racism, no bueno."
Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. filed a formal complaint against Schlossberg with the disciplinary committee that oversees lawyers.