James Iannazzo (DOB 05/15/1973) was arrested and charged with C.G.S 53a-181ka; Intimidation Based on Bigotry or Bias in the Second Degree, C.G.S 53a-181; Breach of Peace in the Second Degree and C.G.S 53a-107 Criminal Trespass in the First Degree. He was issued a court appearance date of 2/7/2022 at Bridgeport Superior Court.
Courtesy: Fairfield Police Department
Merrill Lynch fired a financial advisor in Connecticut after he was arrested for hurling a drink at a smoothie-store worker in an expletive-laden rant that was captured by a viral TikTok video.
“F—ing stupid, f—ing ignorant high school kids,” ranted James Iannazzo, 48, on the TikTok video taken in a Robeks store in Fairfield on Saturday.
Iannazzo, who had worked for Merrill Lynch since 1995, was enraged that day after his nut-allergic son went into life-threatening anaphylactic shock after having a drink from the store, which led to the 17-year-old boy’s hospitalization.
The video shows Iannazzo at the store’s counter, loudly demanding to know who had made the drink for his son. It also shows him refusing to leave then workers told them they did not know, and when they told him repeatedly to leave because of his conduct.
“I want to speak to the f—ing person who made this drink,” he yelled.
“F—ing b—h,” Iannazzo fumes at a female worker in the story before tossing the drink at her, the video shows.
“You f—ing immigrant, loser,” the Fairfield resident then says before trying to enter an area of the store marked “employees only.”
Iannazzo was arrested Saturday after turning himself in, and charged with “intimidation based on bigotry or bias in the second degree, second-degree breach of peace, and first-degree criminal trespass. He is due to appear in Bridgeport Superior Court on Feb. 7.
Iannazzo’s lawyer Frank Riccio said in a statement, “He deeply regrets his actions and acted completely out of character.
Merrill Lynch fired Iannazzo on Sunday, after becoming aware of the TikTok video, which has garnered more than 2.6. million views after it was posted on Twitter.
“Our company does not tolerate behavior of this kind,” said Merrill Lynch spokesman Bill Halldin
“We immediately investigated and have taken action. This individual is no longer employed at our firm,” said Haldin, referring to the investment and wealth management division of Bank of America.
Social media sites widely shared the video, with some people condemning Iannazzo’s actions and applauding his termination.
Some others said that although they did not excuse his throwing the drink at the worker, they understood he was acting because of extreme emotion due to son’s medical state, and questioned why Merrill Lynch was so quick to fire him.
Iannazzo in a statement said, “My actions at Robek’s were wrong, and I deeply regret them. They do not reflect my values or my character. I feel terrible that I lost my composure so completely.”
“I had returned to Robek’s to determine what ingredients were in the smoothie that I had previously ordered. I made my regrettable comments because my 17-year-old son was taken to the hospital suffering from life threatening anaphylactic shock,” Iannazzo said. “He collapsed at our home while drinking the smoothie from Robek’s, which contained some sort of nut product, after I had advised them of his nut allergy when I ordered his drink.”
“After he started to drink his smoothie, my son lost the capacity to breathe properly; his lips and face swelled up, and he required an EpiPen shot, but it did not offer him relief. I called 911. My son then went to the bathroom, threw up and fell unconscious to the floor. He threw up again,” Iannazzo said.
“My wife gave him another EpiPen while I called 911 again. Thank God, he is doing okay. I’d like to thank my wife and the first responders who I believe saved his life. This is the worst nightmare of every parent whose child has a similar allergy.”
“I was out of my mind with fear for him when I returned to Robek’s, and I wish I had not done so. I also wish they had been more careful preparing my son’s beverage. I will be extending my apologies personally to the Robek’s organization, particularly the staff that was working there that night.”
Fairfield Police said that on Saturday afternoon they received “numerous calls from employees … reporting a customer was throwing things, yelling at employees, and refusing to leave.”
A subsequent investigation by cops revealed that Iannazzo had called 911 requesting emergency workers to his home “for a juvenile suffering from an allergic reaction and was later transported to an area hospital.”
“A short time later, Iannazzo returned to Robeks and confronted employees, yelling at them and demanding to know who had made the smoothie which contained peanuts, causing his child’s allergic reaction,” police said.
“When employees could not provide Iannazzo with the answer he became irate, yelling at the employees using a number of expletives. He then threw a drink at an employee, which hit their right shoulder.”
“Iannazzo was told to leave multiple times by the employees but remained inside and continued to yell insults at the employees,” police said.
“Iannazzo then attempted to open a locked door that led to an “Employees Only” area where the employees were, behind the counter.”
Police said store workers told cops that “Iannazzo never told them about the peanut allergy but had only requested that there be no peanut butter in his drink.”