A Connecticut father, who is a financial adviser for Merlyn Lynch, was arrested after launching a racist tirade and tossing a drink at a worker in a smoothie shop on Saturday for "giving his allergic son a drink containing peanuts." James Iannazzo, 48, was arrested and charged with a hate crime following the wild scene at Robeks in Fairfield on Saturday, according to the Fairfield Police Department.
The video of the incident wherein Iannazzo launches the racist tirade was shot by a 17-yearold girl working at the store, which has since gone viral. The video had more than 16 million views on TikTok before being removed on Sunday.
Out of Hatred
The incident happened at Robeks in Fairfield around 2:30 pm on Saturday. Iannazzo had gone to the store to buy a smoothie for his son and returned home only to find that it purportedly contained peanuts that caused allergic reaction that sent his son to the hospital, authorities said.
However, instead of taking care of his sick son, Iannazzo returned to the store to create a chaos. The video was taken by the young employee at that time. After storming into the store Iannazzo demanded to know who was responsible for adding peanut butter to his smoothie order.
He then went on an expletive-ridden outburst. "Shut the f*** up! Stupid f****** idiot. You're a f***** idiot. I want the f***** number. Shut up," a furious Iannazzo yelled, demanding to know the number of the corporate office.
And the he went on another round of outburst making a racist attack. "You're a f***** immigrant loser," he can be heard saying in the video to one of the employees, prompting the rest of the staff to yell at him to leave the store. "Get the f*** out of here, you f****** b***."
Iannazzo then fled the scene when he realized that the police has been called and he could be arrested. However, before leaving he tossed the beverage at an employee.
Police later arrested Iannazzo from his home after they couldn't find him at the store. According to police, Iannazzo during his expletive-ridden tirade also tried to trespass into an employees-only area.
Iannazzo admitted to officers he went back to the store after becoming upset about his son's severe allergic reaction, according to police. Workers told investigators that Iannazzo asked for no peanut butter in the smoothie, but did not note the request was because of an allergy.
According to police, he originally bought the smoothie around 1pm on Saturday and left without incident, Fairfield Police said. At around 1.40pm, Iannazzo called 911 requesting an EMS response to his home for his son, who was later taken to a hospital.
After the incident went viral on social media he was fired from his position as wealth advisor and director at Merrill Lynch Management, where he had been working since 1995.
"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," the company said in a statement about its decision to fire Iannazzo.
He then returned to Robeks and confronted employees and started the tirade. In 2021, he was ranked the 24th best wealth advisor in Connecticut by Forbes, according to Blaze media.
Iannazzo was charged with one felony and two misdemeanors and was released pending his court appearance and if found guilty could be sentenced to up to six years in prison.