In a video posted to Facebook, the man can be heard chastising an employee at a fast-food chain in Manhattan, telling him: “Your staff is speaking Spanish to customers!”
“He spoke it, he spoke it, she’s speaking it,” the man says, pointing to individual employees. “It’s America!”
“Yeah, this is America,” someone responds. Others call him ignorant and say he shouldn’t be allowed in the store.
The man then appears poised to leave, but turns to issue a final threat to the employees.
“My guess is they’re not documented, so my next call is to [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] to have each one of them kicked out of my country,” he says, waving his cell phone.
“If 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 – so the least they could do is speak English,” he adds.
Before leaving, he tells one woman: “Maybe you shouldn’t eat that sandwich today. Take a break from the food.”
“Maybe you should get hit by a car,” she responds.
Video of the incident posted to Facebook by Edward Suazo had been viewed more than 4.7m times by Thursday morning. Mr Suazo said the video was taken after his wife and her friend started speaking Spanish with their server at a Fresh Kitchen restaurant. The man jumped in and began threatening them, Mr Sauzo said in a Facebook post.
“What a big man talking down to couple of women and a helpless employee,” he wrote.
Mr Sauzo's wife, Deena Sauzo, told the New York Daily News she has just ordered her lunch in Spanish when the man launched into his tirade, telling a counter worker to "give me my f***ing sandwich!"
"It's disgusting to me, in this day and age, that people think it's ok to walk around and be disrespectful and racist," she said. "The United States is made of all cultures and ethnicities."
Others seemed to agree. As video of the incident circulated online, some social media sleuths identified the man as a New York-based commercial and insurance lawyer.
Several users said they called the New York state bar to complain, and others flooded the Yelp page for the lawyer's practice with one-star reviews.
“You are a despicable human being who preys on the weak and innocent,” one reviewer wrote. “Your views on race should disbar you from legal practice.”
Yelp has since placed an “active cleanup alert” on the page, indicating that some reviews are the result of recent headlines. The New York State Bar Association tweeted that they were "aware of the situation," but would not handle attorney dispiline.
The lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.
According to the Centre for Responsive Politics, the lawyer donated $500 to Donald Trump's presidential campaign. A short biography on his webpage notes that he is fluent in Spanish.