An enraged white man was caught on video insulting and threatening two women for speaking Spanish at a lunch chain in midtown Manhattan — going so far as to pull out his phone and say he was going to call call Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on them because he was livid about hearing the language “in my country.”
“Every person I listen to — he’s speaking it, she’s speaking it. This is America,” the man shouted, as customers at the Fresh Kitchen on Madison Ave looked on, some of them telling him he’s “f*cked up.” His anger was in response to the two women interacting with one of the kitchen employees in Spanish.
As a manager approached him, the man continued: “Your clients and your staff are speaking Spanish to staff when they should be speaking English…” At this point in the video, he begins to become visibly more upset as nobody around him takes his side — so he threatens to call immigration officers.
“My guess is they’re undocumented, so my next call is to ICE to have each one of them taken out of my country. 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,” he sputters. “The least they could do, the least they could do is speak English.” He then storms out of the coffee shop, but not before body-shaming a woman (not in frame) who called him an “ignorant a**hole.”
The fact that this xenophobe assumes the parties involved rely on welfare is both racist and laughable, seeing as the Fresh Kitchen employee is just that — employed.
The video was posted to Facebook by Edward Suazo, whose wife was one of the women verbally assaulted by the racist man. He wrote that his wife and her best friend were talking to the cashier when the man accosted them.
“What a big man talking down to couple of women and a helpless employee,” wrote Suazo. “I wish someone tells me I can’t speak in my native language ! First of all they wasn’t talking to you !!
A witness told Gothamist that the man “seemed like a normal, pretty well off caucasian guy,” adding that the man was tossed out of the Fresh Kitchen while the women remained. “People are taught not to be bystanders, but it’s hard to get involved. This guy was really, really angry,” the witness said.
Vocal activist and Twitter presence Shaun King had some help identifying the man, who appears to be Aaron M. Schlossberg, a lawyer in Midtown Manhattan.
Already, hundreds have taken to Schlossberg’s Yelp and Google business pages to tank his ratings.
According the New York Daily News, the customer “completely misread the situation” and became angry because he felt like he had been waiting too long for his food.
“They were speaking Spanish because they are friends,” the manager said of the employee and one of the women. “He got mad, waiting in line for his food. He stormed out.”
“He’s a customer, so I had to stay professional and ask him to leave,” said the manager. “That’s what I did.”