James Iannazzo has been fired by Merrill Lynch from his job as an advisor after a heated exchange with staff at a Connecticut smoothie shop went viral online, Newsweek reports.
Iannazzo’s attorney, Frank J Riccio, has issued a statement in the aftermath of the incident.
We unpack everything we know…
Smoothie shop video goes viral
James Iannazzo went viral at the weekend after he visited a Robeks smoothie shop in Connecticut.
As reported by Newsweek, Iannazzo ordered a smoothie for his son, who has a peanut allergy, at about 1.05pm on Saturday (22 January). He said he had asked staff to ensure the drink didn’t contain peanut butter.
In a statement, the Fairfield Police Department said at 1.39pm Iannazzo called 911 requesting an emergency response to his home as his son was suffering from an allergic reaction.
His son was transported to an area hospital and Iannazzo returned to the store to demand to know who had made the smoothie. Employees told Iannazzo they weren’t sure and directed him to call the franchise’s corporate office with a complaint.
Staff said they asked Iannazzo to leave the shop multiple times before calling the police. Iannazzo had left the scene before the police arrived but turned himself in without incident. He told officers he was upset about his son having a severe allergic reaction.
Employees told police Iannazzo never told them about the peanut allergy but had only requested there was no peanut butter in his drink.
James Iannazzo’s attorney issues statement
Frank J Riccio, Iannazzo’s attorney, has since issued a statement. It reads: “His son has a life-threatening peanut allergy. Upon drinking the Robeks smoothie, his son had a severe allergic reaction, which required transport via ambulance to the hospital.
“When faced with a dire situation, Mr Iannazzo’s parental instinct kicked in and he acted out of anger and fear. He is not a racist and deeply regrets his statement and actions during a moment of extreme emotion.”
Iannazzo was charged with intimidation based on bigotry or bias, breach of the peace, and criminal trespass. He is set to appear in court next month.
Merrill Lynch reacts
In the aftermath of the incident, multiple sources have confirmed James Iannazzo has been fired from his position at Merrill Lynch, where he had been working for the past 26 years.
Merrill Lynch spokesman Bill Halldin told Newsweek: “Our company does not tolerate behaviour of this kind. We immediately investigated and have taken action. This individual is no longer employed at our firm.”
In 2021, Forbes ranked Iannazzo as one of the 25 best in-state wealth advisors.
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