NY lawyer who berated Spanish speakers 'not racist', apologizes

A Manhattan attorney who scolded workers at a Midtown restaurant for speaking Spanish in his presence has been evicted from his offices and faces a formal complaint (New York Times).

On Tuesday 22 May, a week after the incident, he has apologised publicly (The Guardian) through his Twitter account, saying in a post that the viral video “did not convey the real me”.

Witnesses filmed Aaron Schlossberg (who delivers “skilled representation in commercial and insurance law” according to his firm’s website) complaining to a manager about two employees taking lunch orders in Spanish (CNN).

He reportedly lost his temper on May 15 after he heard the two workers speak Spanish to each other, saying that “every person I listened to, he’s spoke, he spoke, she’s speaking it. It’s America,” Schlossberg told the Fresh Kitchen restaurant manager.

Then, the backlash quickly ballooned thanks to the internet: a customer’s footage of the racist tirade became viral after being uploaded in Twitter, so the public could have their say.

Schlossberg was publicly unavailable later in the week, not returning telephone calls, and the contact function on his company website appeared to be disabled (Euronews). This states that he also does business in Spanish.

On the same day he had his face on the front page of the New York Daily News with a headline written in Spanish that the tabloid translated as “Screw you, idiot.”

On May 18, the lawyer was facing eviction from his flexible workspace and a formal legal grievance via the New York State Grievance Committee, due to his misconduct.

Meanwhile, some enthusiasts offered to “cheer up the staff and attorneys at the law office of Aaron M. Schlossberg Esq. P.L.L.C. after a difficult day” starting a GoFundMe campaign to send a mariachi band to play outside. The online campaign, dubbed “Mariachis For Aaron Schlossberg”, culminated Saturday May 19 with a mariachi band serenading him outside the lawyer’s apartment in New York (Metro).

Also, the American Civil Liberties Union said it is looking into an incident in which a Border Patrol agent detained and questioned a woman and her friend — both U.S. citizens — when he overheard them speaking Spanish at a gas station in Montana (The Washington Post).


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