A customer at the New York City restaurant Fresh Kitchen was caught on video in a racist tirade threatening to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on some employees and patrons after they spoke Spanish. The minute-long footage, which has gone viral, shows the man berating an employee at the eatery and pointing at others around noontime Tuesday.
“Your staff is speaking Spanish to customers when they should be speaking English,” he said. “Every person I listen to. He spoke it, he spoke it, she’s speaking it. It’s America.”
Emily Serrano and her best friend, Deena are regular customers at the Madison Avenue restaurant. She told CBS News they befriended one of the workers there and often interact with him in English and Spanish.
Serrano says a patron who was in the line before her ordered his food in Spanish and that appeared to agitate the man in the video. Once she and her friend placed their order in the language, she said he flipped out on the workers. She then decided to pull out her phone and record him once she started to feel threatened by him.
“If you intend to be running a place in midtown Manhattan, your staff better be speaking to customers in English,” he said.
While other patrons were quietly observing in the background, Serrano and her friend defended the workers and called the man “ignorant.”
The video shows he then turned his attention on them, threatening to call ICE –– and made a remark about Serrano’s weight –– before walking out of the restaurant.
“My guess is they’re undocumented, so my next call is to ICE to have each one of them taken out of my country,” he said.
Her best friend’s husband later uploaded the video that’s circulating online. That video has been viewed more than 3 million times on Facebook. (WARNING, before you watch it, the video below contains profanity.)
Twitter users identified the man in the recording as a Manhattan-based attorney, but his identity has not been confirmed. His name was trending on Wednesday and CBS News reached out for comment.
Serrano said the man should be “ashamed of himself.”
“He was so upset,” she said. “This is not OK. He had to understand what did is not OK.”
“Honestly, it was overwhelming and unexpected,” Serrano says of the experience. “New York is diversity. It was unbelievable.”
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