LATEST PAPER
62° Good Afternoon
62° Good Afternoon
News

Aaron Schlossberg, lawyer in midtown rant video, apologizes on Twitter

Schlossberg said he realized the way he acted was "unacceptable."

Man claims lawyer accused in anti-immigrant rant 'assaulted' him

Willie Morris, top right, claims Aaron Schlossberg also yelled at him on the street in an encounter caught on cellphone video and posted to YouTube on Oct. 19, 2016. (Credit: Willie Morris)

Aaron Schlossberg, the Manhattan lawyer who was caught on video last week ranting against Spanish speakers inside Fresh Kitchen in midtown, issued an apology on Tuesday.

Schlossberg, who has been in hiding since the video went viral on Wednesday, said that seeing his actions and words spread across the internet made him realize how he expressed himself was "unacceptable."

"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," Schlossberg wrote in a noontime tweet. "While people should be able to express themselves freely, they should do so calmly and respectfully,"

The attorney, besieged by backlash over his angry rant, claimed the video did not truly represent him.

He also denied being racist, despite the existence of at least three videos that have purportedly captured Schlossberg making anti-Semitic or anti-immigrant remarks to strangers in an aggressive manner over the last two years. Schlossberg did not mention any of the other videos in his apology.

"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," Schlossberg continued in his tweet. "Again, my sincerest apologies to anyone and everyone I hurt. Thank you."

In the video posted to Facebook last Tuesday, Schlossberg assumes the people he overheard speaking Spanish are not legally in the country. After confronting the workers and two customers, he threatens to call U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement.

“Your staff is speaking Spanish to customers when they should be speaking English,” he told an employee in the video. “I will be following up and my gut says they’re not documented so my next call is to ICE to have these [people] kicked out of my country.”

Several bystanders can be heard defending the workers and customers who were targeted, including one woman who called Schlossberg "ignorant."

The video has been viewed over 6.8 million times since it was posted.

Willie Morris, a New Yorker who posted a YouTube video in 2016 purportedly of Schlossberg verbally abusing him on Fifth Avenue, said the lawyer's apology was "another example of someone caught multiple times acting horrible, having it damage their career [and] reputation, and trying desperately to save face."

"When you're caught on video three times in a city of 8 million people, saying 'I'm not a racist,' isn't a strong case," Morris continued in a tweet thread created in response to Schlossberg's apology.

Morris suggested that if Schlossberg wanted to prove he has learned from his actions, he could provide legal services for immigrants in the city. 

"There are plenty of ways to show heart for those around you instead of a blanket apology," he said, adding that he hopes Schlossberg has actually had a change of heart.

Last week, the New York City Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR) spoke with the workers of Fresh Kitchen, informing them of their right to file a complaint against Schlossberg. It was unclear on Tuesday if a complaint had been filed.

Schlossberg also could face disciplinary action from the state's Grievance Committee, which is responsible for reviewing the conduct of attorneys in the state, after Rep. Adriano Espaillat filed a formal complaint against the attorney.

With Alison Fox

News photos & videos