What to Know
- NYC attorney Aaron Schlossberg was sighted by reporters Thursday, days after his racist tirade at a Manhattan cafe went viral
- Amid continuing backlash from the video, Schlossberg remained silent and ran from NBC News cameras, refusing to speak to reporters
- The video had gotten 5 million views in two days
A Manhattan lawyer who threatened to call immigration enforcement on workers at a Midtown cafe when he heard them speaking in Spanish is apparently trying to flee the backlash against his racist rant -- as he was captured on video running from an NBC News reporter on Thursday.
When confronted by an NBC News crew on the street near his apartment building in Manhattan, Aaron Schlossberg didn't respond when asked if he wanted to apologize to the people he disparaged in his racist tirade.
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Wearing sunglasses and a beanie cap, he walked for several blocks trying to catch a cab, never making a single comment or answering a question. After failing to hail a cab, he sprinted from the NBC News crew, glancing over his shoulder several times.
Schlossberg's racist rant, caught on video by a fellow customer, had more than 5 million views online in two days, and fallout for the lawyer since the video went viral was continuing into Thursday.
The midtown building where Schlossberg had a part-time office has evicted him, telling News 4 in a statement Thursday, "Corporate Suites has a diverse and global community of business professionals working in a rich environment with mutual respect. We found Mr. Schlossberg's statements offensive and contrary to our community norms and have decided to terminate his services agreement with us."
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. And a Change.org petition to have the attorney disbarred had more than 9,000 signatures by Thursday.
Fury against Schlossberg was manifesting 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; it raised $1,000 of its $500 goal in less than a day).
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-----g 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.
Schlossberg's latest rant was recorded on 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***ing 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.
Speaking about the Fresh Kitchen staff, he goes on to say he guesses they're not documented. "So my next call is to ICE to have each one of them kicked 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, the least they can do is speak English," he says.
"If you intend on running a place in midtown Manhattan your staff should speak English."
He then told Serrano to "go back to Guatemala." Serrano is of Puerto Rican descent, born in New York. At that point, she said she decided to call police. While on the phone to the dispatcher, Schlossberg left, she said.
A spokesperson for Fresh Kitchen said the staff were "in awe" of what happened and that the cafe welcomes people from all cultures.