A 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 Forwardidentifies 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.