Twitter sleuths are pointing to Manhattan lawyer Aaron Schlossberg as the man seen unleashing a racist rant at a New York deli in a viral video. The video of a white man yelling about customers and a worker speaking Spanish at a Fresh Kitchen lit up the internet Wednesday, turning the attorney into a figure for national scorn.
In the viral video, Schlossberg assumed the Spanish speakers were undocumented immigrants and threatened to call U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “Every person I listen to — he spoke it, she spoke it, she’s speaking it. This is America,” said the man in the video. “If they have the balls to come here and live off of my money — I pay for their welfare. I pay for their ability to be here. The least they could do — the least they could do is speak English.”
Schlossberg, who has not commented on the situation, was photographed by the New York Daily News outside his Manhattan apartment Thursday morning. Clad in a suit and a black cap, the lawyer said “They're yelling, they're claiming things that aren't true,” as he called the police on Daily News staff. “They're grabbing my personal items. ... Defaming me. I can't even move, because they're blocking me.” New York Daily News reports that the security at the Madison Ave building where he keeps an office says he’s been barred from entry. "If he comes here, we're going to kick him out.” Schlossberg said that was “false,” as he taped his confrontation with the media.
Now Schlossberg faces another online crisis: Yelp-bombing. The Yelp page for his law firm has been bombarded by negative reviews — and a handful of supportive ones — as a result of his inadvertent stardom.
He only had one review before Wednesday, from a woman who was apparently a client. She said he was an “attorney who can accomplish overcoming great obstacles with assurance and poise.” His Yelp page now has more than 2,700 reviews.
One negative review reads, “Terrible legal advice. Even worse racism.” Another says that you’d be better off “hiring Michael Cohen.”Yet another says, “we could build a wall around him so nobody would have to be exposed to this trashy behavior.” One user listed Schlossberg’s business as a Mexican restaurant, eliciting jokes spinning off on that. Sue thinks he’s “not much of an attorney but he makes hellacious tacos.” Andrea would “like some enchiladas, hold the kkk!” Monica declares: “This man is a racist and a sandwich shamer!!!”
The “sandwich shamer” comment is a reference to part of the confrontation in the viral video. When confronted by a woman for his behavior, the man shouted back, “Maybe you shouldn’t eat that sandwich today...take a break from the food!” She had a retort ready: “Maybe you should get hit by a car, you piece of s—!”
Yelp displays a pop-up message on the page, acknowledging the unusual activity as a result of the business making “waves” on the news. “While we don’t take a stand one way or the other when it comes to these news events, we do work to remove both positive and negative posts that appear to be motivated more by the news coverage itself than the reviewer’s personal consumer experience with the business,” says the message, as the review site promises to start clean up on Wednesday.
PIX11 News uploaded a video to Youtube Thursday of Schlossberg entering a Queens courtroom. He appears to drop his papers in the rush and looks up briefly, as depicted in the above screenshot. He did not give a comment.
[Photo: Screenshot from Facebook]