James Iannazzo, a wealthy Connecticut financial advisor, was arrested Saturday after police said he launched a racist tirade at the employees at a smoothie shop.
In a TikTok video that garnered millions of views before it was apparently deleted, Iannazzo is seen cursing at the young workers at a Fairfield Robeks who he said messed up his order. As the confrontation escalates, Iannazzo appears to throw a drink at a woman before questioning her immigration status.
The 48-year-old fled the scene before police arrived but later turned himself in, telling police that his severely allergic son was hospitalized after drinking a smoothie with peanuts. He was charged with felony intimidation and criminal trespassing, according to local reports.
Smoothie Store Cursing Caught on Video
Investigators said that Iannazzo visited the Robeks on Blackrock Turnpike at around 1 p.m. Saturday and left without incident.
About a half hour later, authorities said they received a 911 call from Iannazzo’s home, reporting that a child was having a serious allergic reaction. The boy was rushed to a nearby hospital, and his condition remains unclear as of Sunday.
Some time after 2 p.m., Iannazzo returned to the Robeks and demanded to know which team member made the smoothie he purchased an hour before. As seen in the TikTok video, the 48-year-old grew angry when workers told him they didn’t know who made the drink.
The clip shows Iannazzo hurling curses and insults at the young women behind the counter before throwing the smoothie at her. The drink hit her shoulder but she was not injured, according to media accounts.
Iannazzo is also heard calling one worker a “f—king immigrant” as employees plead with him to leave the store.
The video culminates as the young women huddle in a back area behind the counter to wait for Iannazzo to leave. Disturbingly, the 48-year-old is seen trying to enter the locked door marked “employees only,” seemingly to confront the workers directly.
Police said they received 911 calls from the Robeks staff at around 2:26 p.m. By the time authorities arrived to the store, Iannazzo had fled the scene.
He was quickly identified by investigators, and turned himself in to Fairfield police some time after, reports indicate.
James Iannazzo Charged
The financial advisor was booked on one count of intimidation based on bigotry or bias — a Class D felony under Connecticut law — as well as breaching the peace and criminal trespassing.
His incarceration status was not immediately clear on Sunday, though the 48-year-old is reportedly due back in court for his arraignment on Feb. 7.
On Sunday, the firm announced that he had been unceremoniously fired.
“Our company does not tolerate behavior of this kind. We immediately investigated and have taken action. This individual is no longer employed at our firm,” a Merill Lynch spokesperson said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Robeks thanked Fairfield police for the speedy resolution.
“At Robeks, our priority is to protect both store team members and guests. The company and its franchisees have a zero-tolerance policy for this type of behavior, and we are thankful that the franchisee’s team members were not physically hurt,” they wrote.
“We appreciate the swift action by law enforcement and the judicial system in pursuing criminal charges for this unacceptable behavior.”
Iannazzo’s lawyers also issued a public statement Sunday, writing that their client “wholeheartedly regrets the incident.”
“Mr. Iannazzo placed an order at the Robeks and stressed to the staff that the product must not contain peanuts,” the attorneys said.
“When faced with a dire situation for his son, Mr. Iannazzo’s parental instinct kicked in and he acted out of anger and fear,” they continued.
“He is not a racist individual and deeply regrets his statements and actions during a moment of extreme emotional stress.”