Racist Rant by New York Lawyer Tanks His Law Firm's Yelp Rating
Critics of Aaron Schlossberg, a New York lawyer whose racist tantrum against restaurant workers speaking Spanish went viral, are getting their revenge.
They’ve posted so many negative reviews on his law firm's Yelp listing that Yelp has had intervene. The company says its policy for news making businesses is to remove posts “that appear to be motivated more by the news coverage itself than the reviewer’s personal consumer experience with the business.”
New reviews about the law firm that apparently slipped through the filtering range from ironically helpful--like how concerned New Yorkers can lodge complaints--to tabloid headline-like condemnations such as “Ya done messed up now, A-a-ron!!”
For the record, Schlossberg’s law firm currently has a one-star average rating on Yelp.
In the video that went viral on Wednesday, Schlossberg complains to a manager at Fresh Kitchen in Manhattan that “the least [the employees] can do” is speak English in America when he “pays for their welfare.” He also threatened to call U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on workers who he assumed were “not documented” and have them “kicked out of [his] country.”
The backlash quickly ballooned online.
Critics also quickly located Schlossberg’s office listing on Maps -- changing the business category to “Mexican Restaurant” and swapping a photo of the attorney for an image of a dog being hit in the face with a frisbee -- and created a GoFundMe page raising “$500 to send a Mariachi band to cheer up the staff and attorneys at The Law Office of Aaron M. Schlossberg Esq. after a difficult day.”
The fundraising page requested the band “to sing the famous, endearing and warm Spanish children’s song La Cucuracha” and received $1,000 toward the goal in less than one day.
State representative Adriano Espaillat from New York's 13th Congressional District tweeted Wednesday that he would file a formal complaint against the lawyer.
— Adriano Espaillat (@RepEspaillat) May 16, 2018
But despite the outrage, Schlossberg is unlikely to be disbarred.
"Mr. Schlossberg could be disciplined for this conduct but it will not lead to disbarment," Stephen Gillers, a professor of legal ethics at New York University, told Forward.com, an American Jewish news outlet.
He continued: "Factors a disciplinary committee will consider in deciding what if any discipline is warranted include extenuating circumstances and whether Mr. Schlossberg has prior discipline. If he does not, I think the most serious discipline he could face would be a private admonition if he has a clean record. That means the discipline will not become public."
Internet sleuths also dug up some previous behavior by Schlossberg that they pointed to as part of a pattern. There’s video of him screaming "You are not a Jew" at Jewish people supporting Palestine at a demonstration in May 2017, for example. They also surfaced that he had donated $500 to the presidential campaign of Donald Trump, who promised to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico and stricter immigration laws.
There have already been some consequences besides online reviews, though: The midtown building where the attorney’s office was located evicted him on Thursday.
“Corporate Suites has a diverse and global community of business professionals working in a rich environment with mutual respect. We found Mr. Schlossberg’s statements offensive and contrary to our community norms and have decided to terminate his services agreement with us,” the company told NBC’s News 4 in a statement.
On Thursday, Schlossberg refused to talk to a New York Daily News reporter, instead calling the police to report harassment by the press.
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