A Connecticut man was charged with criminal charges and lost his job after he was seen in a now-viral video yelling at employees who he believes were making a drink that caused his son’s allergy to nuts and then making a derogatory comment in which he questioned an employee’s immigration status.
The man, identified as James Iannazzo, bought a smoothie Saturday from a Robeks store in Fairfield, Connecticut, according to the Fairfield Police Department.
Police said Iannazzo later called 911 for “a minor who was suffering from an allergic reaction” who was taken to a hospital in the region.
Iannazzo then returned to the store and reportedly “talked to employees, yelled at them and demanded who made the peanut smoothie, which caused his child to have an allergic reaction,” police said in a press release.
Video of Iannazzo yelling at the workers has gone viral on social media. Inside the store, he can be heard shouting powerhouses and throwing a drink at an employee.
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Iannazzo was charged with second-degree harassment based on bigotry or bias, a crime in Connecticut. He was also charged with second-degree breach of the peace and first-degree criminal trespass, both felonies.
Officials have confirmed that Iannazzo has turned himself in to authorities. Employees at the store told police that the man had not told them about his son’s peanut allergy, but he requested that he not have peanut butter in the drink.
Frank J. Riccio II, a lawyer for Iannazzo, said in: a statement on Twitter on Sunday that the man “deeply regrets the incident” and that he “emphasized to staff that the product should not contain peanuts”.
“When faced with a plight for his son, Mr. Iannazzo’s parenting instincts 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 this type of behavior” and confirmed that Iannazzo is “no longer employed by our company”.
In a statement to USA TODAY, Robeks called the incident troubling.
“At Robeks, our priority is to protect store team members and guests alike. The company and its franchisees have a zero-tolerance policy for this type of behavior, and we are grateful that the franchisee’s team members were not physically injured,” the smoothie chain said in a statement.