A Connecticut man was criminally charged and lost his job after he was seen in a now-viral video yelling at employees who he said made a drink that triggered his son’s allergy to nuts and then making a derogatory comment questioning an employee’s immigration status.
The man, identified as James Iannazzo, purchased a smoothie on Saturday from a Robeks store in Fairfield, Connecticut, according to the Fairfield Police Department.
Police said Iannazzo later called 911 for “a juvenile suffering from an allergic reaction” who was taken to an area hospital.
Iannazzo then returned to the store and allegedly “confronted employees, yelling at them and demanding to know who had made the smoothie which contained peanuts, causing his child’s allergic reaction,” the police department said in a news release.
Video of Iannazzo yelling at the employees has gone viral on social media. He can be heard shouting expletives in the store and seen throwing a drink at an employee.
Health:Customer goes on profane tirade, refuses to wear mask in California Starbucks
Travel:Woman refuses mask on flight to London. So, the pilot took her back to Florida
Iannazzo was charged with intimidation based on bigotry or bias in the second degree, a felony in Connecticut. He also was charged with second-degree breach of peace and first-degree criminal trespass, both misdemeanors.
Officials confirmed that Iannazzo turned himself in to authorities. Employees at the store told police that the man did not tell them about his son’s peanut allergy, but he requested that there was no peanut butter in the beverage.
Frank J. Riccio II, an attorney for Iannazzo, said in a statement on Twitter on Sunday that the man “wholeheartedly regrets the incident” and that he “stressed to the staff that the product must not contain peanuts.”
“When faced with a dire situation for his son, Mr. Iannazzo’s parental instinct kicked in and he acted out of anger and fear,” the statement said. “He is not a racist individual and deeply regrets his statements and actions during a moment of extreme emotional stress.”
Bill Halldin, a Merrill Lynch spokesperson said the company “does not tolerate behavior of this kind” and confirmed that Iannazzo “is no longer employed at our firm.”
In a statement to USA TODAY, Robeks called the incident disturbing.
“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,” the smoothie chain said in the statement.
‘This too shall pass away’ this famous Persian adage seems to be defeating us again and again in the case of COVID-19. Despite every effort