But one day later, he has officially transformed from being a random lawyer in midtown Manhattan and Hopkins graduate to being the new face of internet shame. His office is being bombarded by bad reviews. Videos are surfacing of his previous outbursts. He made the front page of the New York Daily News. A congressman wants to get have investigated.
So if you’re Aaron Schlossberg, the days of being an anonymous angry dude are over. (Also, if you’re Aaron Schlossberg, please call me. I’d like to interview you. My contact information is in the email and phone messages I sent.)
Schlossberg’s moment of infamy began on Wednesday, when he was filmed complaining in a Manhattan Fresh Kitchen about employees who were speaking Spanish to one another and a customer. Then, he accused them of being illegal immigrants (without, it seems, any actual evidence) and threatened to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement (or ICE) to have them arrested.
“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.”
Things spiraled from there. Someone posted a video of the encounter. Shaun King, an anti-racism activist and columnist with a large social media following, uncovered Schlossberg’s identity. Then, another journalist published video of Schlossberg at a right-wing Jewish protest against Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour last year, accusing pro-Palestinian Jews of faking their religion.
By Thursday morning, New Yorkers who hadn’t heard of Schlossberg could see a full-page photo of him on the cover of the New York Daily News, a leading tabloid, with the headline, “Jodete, idiota!” (Spanish for “screw you, idiot.”)
Schlossberg is just the latest person to be lambasted via video for issues involving race. A video of two black men being kicked out of a Starbucks and arrested led the chain to announce a one-day closing of its U.S. stores for sensitivity training. Videos of police being called because people of color were napping in a dorm, barbecuing in a park and staying in an Airbnb have also sparked backlashes.
Beyond the public shaming, Schlossberg appears to have suffered concrete harm from his Fresh Kitchen fracas. Adriano Espaillat, a first-term congressman from Upper Manhattan, is filing a grievance against him with the New York State Bar Association. As of noon on Thursday, 8,000 people have signed a petition to get him disbarred.
In the meantime, reporters (including me) have tried unsuccessfully to get a hold of Schlossberg, including some (not me) who confronted him in front of his apartment. But he seems determined to erase whatever online presence he has. His LinkedIn page is gone. So is his firm’s Facebook page.
But that hasn’t stopped people from filling his firm’s Yelp page with terrible reviews.
Others are having more fun with the controversy. As reported by Gothamist, a GoFundMe page has raised more than $1,000 to send a Mariachi band and a taco truck to Schlossberg’s office. More than 1,000 people say they plan to go to a “Latin Party at Racist Aaron Schlossberg’s Midtown office” on Friday, according to Facebook.
No word on whether Schlossberg will attend.