The New York lawyer who was caught on video last Wednesday ranting against Spanish-speaking restaurant workers posted an online apology Tuesday morning on his Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.
“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,” Aaron Schlossberg said in a statement on his law firm’s Twitter feed. “What the video did not convey is the real me. I am not racist.”
“I love this country and this city, in part because of immigrants and the diversity of cultures immigrants bring to this country,” the 42-year-old tweeted, acknowledging that he moved to New York City for its “remarkable diversity.”
A video of the Manhattan lawyer went viral last week when it was viewed millions of times. Edward Suazo posted the video and described the situation in a Facebook post, saying his wife and her best friend were buying lunch and speaking Spanish to the waiter when the Scholossberg went off.
“Every person I listen to — he’s speaking it, she’s speaking it. This is America,” Schlossberg says in the video, as Fox News previously reported.
After being confronted by the manager of Fresh Kitchen on Madison Avenue, near 39th Street, Schlossberg continued: “Your clients and your staff are speaking Spanish to staff when they should be speaking English. ... My guess is they’re undocumented, so my next call is to ICE to have each one of them taken out of my country. If they have the balls to come here and live off my money — I pay for their welfare. I pay for their ability to be here.”
Employees of the city’s Commission on Human Rights went to the restaurant earlier Friday to inform people of their rights against discrimination and harassment. They did not comment on whether the commission would investigate Schlossberg.
Since the charged encounter, Schlossberg has been kicked out of his office space. The company that runs the building Schlossberg uses as his law firm’s address has said his agreement with it was terminated because his actions “were contrary” to its regulations.
The viral clip also sparked outrage among many critics, including Democratic 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.
Mariachi bands sang “La Cucaracha” and other Mexican songs during protests on Friday across the street from the building that once housed Schlossberg’s office space. Demonstrators outside the Manhattan office building also demanded his disbarment.
Schlossberg also lost at least one client over his tirade, according to the New York Post: Upper East Side record label Niche Music opted not to have him represent it in a royalty dispute.
“After hearing Aaron Schlossberg’s views on the video, we decided to fire him from the single case for which we had hired him,” company president Stephen Wilde said in a statement. “We were not aware of his views and he never expressed them to us. We are appalled by his comments and behavior.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.