"I am not a racist."
Aaron Schlossberg achieved international notoriety last week after a viral video showed him making xenophobic remarks at a deli next door to his Midtown law practice. The video seemed especially prescient as the nation grapples with a debate about race, national identity, and immigration.
Earlier today, Schlossberg released an official statement apologizing for his behavior, though he stopped short of disavowing his remarks completely:
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.
Aaron Schlossberg via Linkedin.
https://t.co/xrefxi5Oyg— AaronSchlossbergLaw (@AaronSchlossbergLaw) 1527004889.0
But Schlossberg's apology did not go over well on social media, with many berating him via Twitter and Linkedin.
Some people even edited his apology.
I fixed Aaron Schlossberg’s apology. https://t.co/U1iXQd0WDJ— 𝚑𝚒𝚜𝚙𝚊𝚗𝚒𝚌 𝚙𝚒𝚡𝚒𝚎 𝚍𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚖 𝚐𝚒𝚛𝚕 (@𝚑𝚒𝚜𝚙𝚊𝚗𝚒𝚌 𝚙𝚒𝚡𝚒𝚎 𝚍𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚖 𝚐𝚒𝚛𝚕) 1527011151.0
Took a crack at Aaron Schlossberg's apology. https://t.co/PkesNr9FiO— Joe Matoske (@Joe Matoske) 1527012430.0
Others railed into Schlossberg on Linkedin.
"Someone once said 'When someone shows you who they really are, believe them the first time'. You showed us who you really are, on video, no less, several times," wrote Pablo Lozada, a consultant at RBC Capital Markets.
Pablo Lozada via Linkedin.
Samuel Argel Villasenor, a health administrator at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, went further:
With Trump in office, rats like you have spawn all over this country. Aaron, take a step back and look at yourself in a mirror. Imagine yourself living in Nazi Germany. You are an embarrassment not only for this country but for your family. As a Jewish man, you should understand the hardships minorities go through in this country. An apology won’t solve anything Aaron, only actions due. I hope you reflect from this experience and wish you the best.
Samuel Argel Villasenor via Linkedin.
Activist Shaun King, whose attention prompted Schlossberg's rant to go viral, also issued a comment of his own.
"Aaron Schlossberg just issued a half-hearted apology for insulting Spanish speaking women at a deli here in New York last week," he wrote. "He insisted it is an exception – and that he isn't racist, but we now have over a dozen reports of him being racist all over New York – including here."
And he posted yet more video evidence of Schlossberg assailing minorities.
Aaron Schlossberg just issued a half-hearted apology for insulting Spanish speaking women at a deli here in New Yor… https://t.co/xavqdlBIY1— Shaun King (@Shaun King) 1527011429.0
King's tweeting brought the video to national prominence and prompted social media users to do some detective work. It didn't take long to identify Schlossberg, who berated employees at a Midtown Manhattan Fresh Kitchen speaking Spanish––even threatening to report them to immigration authorities.
"My guess is they’re not documented, so my next call is to ICE to have each one of them kicked out of my country,” Schlossberg said in the video. “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 — the least they can do — is speak English.”
"Who this [sic] this bigot in Midtown Manhattan? What's his name?" King wrote on Twitter on May 16. "Please share this."
Who this this bigot in Midtown Manhattan? What's his name? Please share this. Here he is harassing & insulting tw… https://t.co/GhiB8wjK35— Shaun King (@Shaun King) 1526472911.0
Within hours of being identified, Schlossberg found himself pursued by reporters. Photographs were taken of him hiding under an umbrella, outside of a courthouse, and on the street as he tried to evade the press and their questions.
The lawyer who threatened to call immigration enforcement on workers at a Manhattan cafe earlier this week sprinted… https://t.co/EHQQuTfmdI— NBC New York (@NBC New York) 1526589323.0
It didn't take long for a video to emerge of Schlossberg at a rally last year yelling “You are not a Jew!” to Jewish supporters of Palestine and cheering "Milo! Milo! Milo!" in a reference to Milo Yiannapolous, the former Breitbart editor who has become one of the more prominent darlings of the alt-right.
In response to the video, many in New York's thriving Hispanic community serenaded Schlossberg with a mariachi band––and protests outside his apartment.
The mariachi band leads off with 'La Cucaracha' at the #latinparty outside a certain racist's condo #HolaAaron https://t.co/swm07OtUFa— L.A. Kauffman (@L.A. Kauffman) 1526683170.0
Schlossberg's conduct compelled two Democratic elected officials, Representative Adriano Espaillat and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., to target him in a complaint:
“What was witnessed in the vile video from Mr. Schlossberg, which has since gone viral, is humiliating and insulting attack on the more than 50 years of progress that this nation has made since the civil rights movement,” the two wrote. “The audacity to profile and verbally assault innocent bystanders and customers in a public commercial location is a violation of our civil society.”