Man Fired, Charged After Rant in Smoothie Store

Video shows James Iannazzo call one worker an 'immigrant loser'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 25, 2022 6:40 PM CST

A Connecticut man who went into a smoothie store to complain went so far over the line that he lost his job and is facing criminal charges—including a felony. Police in Fairfield say James Iannazzo, 48, was arrested after workers at a Robeks said he was "throwing things, yelling at employees, and refusing to leave" on Saturday, USA Today reports. Video of the confrontation, in which Iannozzo can be seen swearing at employees, calling one of them an "immigrant loser," and throwing a smoothie that hit a worker in the shoulder, went viral after it was shared on a local Facebook page in the New York City suburb, reports the New York Times. Workers said Iannozzo, who demanded to know who had made a drink that triggered his son's peanut allergy, also tried to get into a locked employees-only area.

Ianozza bought a drink at the store around 1pm and called 911 less than 40 minutes later because a juvenile at his home had suffered a severe allergic reaction, according to a police press release. Police said he went to the store after his son was taken to the hospital. Iannozza, who turned himself in after leaving the Robeks, was charged with intimidation based on bigotry or bias, a felony, along with misdemeanor charges of breach of peace and trespassing. Iannozza, who has a court date next month, has been fired from his job as a financial adviser at Merrill Lynch. "Our company does not tolerate behavior of this kind," a spokesman for parent company Bank of America tells the Times.

Police say workers told investigators that Iannazzo "never told them about the peanut allergy but had only requested that there be no peanut butter in his drink." A lawyer for Iannozzo, however, says he stressed to employees that the drink must not contain peanuts. After his son's severe reaction, the father's "parental instinct kicked in and he acted out of anger and fear," Frank J. Riccio II said in a statement. "He is not a racist individual and deeply regrets his statements and actions during a moment of extreme emotional stress." (More Connecticut stories.)

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