A lawyer whose rant against Spanish speakers in a New York City eatery went viral posted an apology online today, saying that how he expressed himself was "unacceptable."
"To the people I insulted, I apologize," Aaron Schlossberg said in a post to his Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. "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."
Last week, Schlossberg was in a Manhattan restaurant and became incensed at hearing workers speak Spanish. In the rant caught on video, he threatened to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement to have the workers "kicked out of my country."
In the uproar that followed, additional clips surfaced of Schlossberg engaged in other public rants and a complaint was filed with a lawyers' disciplinary committee. The building he was using as a business address terminated its agreement with him.
Critics hired a mariachi band to play outside his apartment and former office space and they demanded his disbarment.
"While people should be able to express themselves freely, they should do so calmly and respectfully," Schlossberg wrote in his apology. "What the video did not convey is the real me. I am not racist."
He said he loved New York City in part because of its diversity.
Schlossberg instantly became a subject of infamy on social media and in the news last week.
Reporters in New York pursued him, confronting him as he hid under an umbrella, during an appearance at a courthouse and on the street. But he declined to answer their questions or apologise for his statements. And video emerged that, other news organisations said, depicted him in previous heated political confrontations: cursing and yelling at an alt-right-affiliated protest, yelling at demonstrators while wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat in front of Trump Tower, and calling a stranger, a YouTube vlogger, an "ugly … foreigner" with an expletive thrown in.
And many noticed that his website notes that he speaks Spanish and has a phone service set up to serve potential clients in Spanish as well as other languages, an irony that was not lost on many commentators.
Schlossberg's office phone number was repeatedly busy.
- AP, with Washington Post