A video going viral online today shows a man freaking out inside a Midtown lunch spot after hearing an employee speak Spanish with a customer, yelling at them to “speak English” and threatening to call Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
“If you intend on running a place in Midtown Manhattan, your staff should be speaking English, not Spanish,” the man says in the video. The Forward identifies the man as Aaron Schlossberg, a Midtown lawyer with a reputation for supporting the alt-right movement.
The incident occurred after Fresh Kitchen employee Deena Gonzalez spoke Spanish with her friend Emily Serrano. The man started making a scene, caught on camera and posted on Facebook by Gonzalez’s husband, in which the man yells racist epithets at staffers.
“My guess is they’re not documented, and so my next call is to ICE. I want each one of them kicked out of my country,” the man says. “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 is speak English.”
People off-camera fought back, calling him “ignorant” and saying that he “shouldn’t be allowed here.” The full video is below. Fresh Kitchen tells Eater it “welcomes everyone from all different type of culture, especially in New York City” and calls the man’s comments “not right at all.”
Eater has reached out to Schlossberg and Gonzalez for comment. In the original post, Gonzalez’s husband writes that America needs immigrants, criticizing the man for his comments.
Since the beginning of the Trump administration, tensions have been high at restaurants regarding ICE, which raided a Queens bakery last year, leading to months-long protests.
Update: May 16, 2018, 3:35 p.m.
This article was updated to include comments from Fresh Kitchen.
So my wife and her best friend Just experience what America is becoming ! They where on there lunch time and ordering there food and just because they where speaking in Spanish to the waiter this asshole jumps in and started to call the waiter and my wife and her best friend all types of names and threatened to call I.C.E on them and the employees !!!! I wish I was there because clearly this peace of shit need someone to punch him in his mouth !! What a big man talking down to couple of women and a helpless employee. I wish someone tells me I can’t speak in my native language ! First of all they wasn’t talking to you !! Asshole ! My country !! Haha I love the way people are just throwing that world around lately !! If you love this country this much ! Why don’t you put on uniform and protect it !! If he was so offended because the waiter was speak in Spanish only because of a native person spoke to him in Spanish, why don’t he start waitering and he won’t have that issue and family stop getting Spanish nannies and stop getting Spanish people to farm and ......... You know where I’m getting !! So please stop !! Because in the end you need them ! But what you need to do is stop trying to control us ! Slavery stopped a long time ago !! Deena Gonzalez Emily SerranoPosted by Edward Suazo on Tuesday, May 15, 2018