Father charged, fired from Merrill Lynch after racist smoothie shop tirade posted on TikTok

FAIRFIELD, Connecticut (WABC) -- The man who went on a viral and racist tirade at a Connecticut smoothie shop has been fired from his job as a financial advisor with Merrill Lynch.

The incident happened Saturday afternoon, when James Iannazzo confronted employees at the store in Fairfield, saying his son had an allergic reaction after drinking a smoothie with nuts.

The confrontation quickly escalated, as Iannazzo allegedly threw a smoothie at one of the workers.

Employees called police after they say he tried to break into the back of the shop.

"He threatened to kill us multiple times," said employee Charlie Hill. "He tried to come behind the doors, and I started recording."
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The confrontation quickly escalated, as Iannazzo allegedly threw a smoothie at one of the workers

Video of the incident posted on TikTok has been viewed millions of times.

Iannazzo surrendered to police shortly after it happened.

He admitted he never told the employees about his son's allergy, but says he did ask for the smoothie without peanut butter.

He has hired a lawyer who said Iannazzo was under stress and his parental instincts kicked in because his son got sick from the smoothie.

Iannazzo has been charged with multiple counts and is due in court February 7.

Merrill Lynch, which employed Iannazzo as a financial advisor, released the following statement on Monday:

"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."

Iannazzo released the following statement on Monday:

"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. 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. 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."

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