(JTA) — Aaron Schlossberg, the lawyer who berated employees of a New York City eatery for speaking Spanish, posted an apology and wrote that he is “not racist.”
“To the people I insulted, I apologize,” wrote Schlossberg on Twitter, six days after the incident, which was captured in a viral video. “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.”
“I am not racist,” he continued. “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 gained infamy last week after he was filmed complaining about employees at Fresh Kitchen, a local cafeteria, speaking Spanish. He accused them of being illegal immigrants (without, it seems, any actual evidence) and said he would call Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, to have them deported.
“Your staff is speaking Spanish to customers when they should be speaking English,” Schlossberg said. “It’s America … And my guess is, they’re not documented. So my next call is to ICE to have each one of those kicked out of my country.”
Following the video’s posting, two other videos surfaced of Schlossberg verbally accosting people. One occurred at a protest against Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour, where he screamed expletives at other Jews. In another, Schlossberg called someone an “ugly f*cking foreigner,” and threatened to call the police on him, after bumping into him on the sidewalk.
A number of people sought to have Schlossberg punished for the rant. U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) filed a grievance against him with the New York State Bar Association, and a petition for him to be disbarred now has 33,000 signatures.