Charli Hill and Gianna Miranda, two Robeks employees, are speaking out after they were verbally attacked by James Iannazzo, the ex-Merrill Lynch financial adviser who has since gone viral for being the “racist smoothie guy.” Hill and Miranda claim he allegedly threatened to kill them.
“He started to call her racial slurs, and he threatened to kill us multiple times. He was banging on the door — he was trying to push the door. We didn’t know if he was going to jump over the counter,” said Charli Hill.
Iannazzo threw his smoothie at Gianna Miranda, hitting her in the shoulder. The teenage worker was not injured during the attack. But after throwing the smoothie, the Connecticut father called Miranda a “f**king immigrant,” and then tried to push his way through an Employees Only entrance. The Robeks employees had to hold the door closed while they feared for their safety.
“Me and my two co-workers had to, like, hold the door because he was pushing it open,” Miranda said. “It was kind of scary, I’m not gonna lie. I’m like, ‘I don’t know his intention or what he was going to do.”
While Iannazzo’s lawyer issued an apology, Gianna Miranda and her other coworkers are demanding an in-person apology from the ex-financial advisor. “I would like to have a face-to-face — like, him tell me to my face that he is sorry,” she told News 12.
The racist tirade went viral after it was posted on TikTok. The video has been deleted, but not before being viewed by millions. According to reports, James Iannazzo started his racist rant because his son had had an allergic reaction to peanuts and wanted to know who made the drink. The ex-financial adviser said he told the employees about the peanut allergy.
The Robeks employees said the Connecticut dad never mentioned the allergy and only asked that the smoothie have no peanut butter in it.
“Next to our register we have a thing that says to let us know if you have any allergies to nuts because we have special blenders and stuff, we use for people who do have nut allergies. I can’t say it did or didn’t have peanut butter in it…It could have been cross-contaminated,” said Gianna Miranda.
A spokesperson for the smoothie chain said that they value order accuracy when it comes to customers with allergies.
Barbara Caruso said, “The allergy notice is posted in-store, on printed menus and is available online to provide full ingredient transparency for guests. We will be investigating concerns surrounding this order in question.”
Fairfield, Conn. police confirmed that an ambulance was called to James Iannazzo’s home after reports of an allergic reaction. The condition of Iannazzo’s 17-year-old son is unknown. Police were also called to the Robeks store after the racist tirade. The former financial adviser had fled the scene by the time police arrived. He later turned himself in.
James Iannazzo was charged with intimidation based on bigotry or bias, breach of peace, and criminal trespass. If convicted, he could face up to five years in prison. After his arrest and viral video, James Iannazzo was fired from his position at Merrill Lynch.
A spokesperson for Merrill Lynch released a statement. “Our company does not tolerate behavior of this kind,” the spokesman, Bill Halldin, said. “We immediately investigated and have taken action. This individual is no longer employed at our firm.”
The Connecticut father’s court date is scheduled for Feb. 7. at Bridgeport Superior Court.