Financial Advisor Arrested, Fired for Racist Tirade

James Iannazzo hurled slurs and threats at the workers of a smoothie shop.

James Iannazzo hurled slurs and threats at the workers of a smoothie shop.

On Sunday, Merrill Lynch financial advisor James Iannazzo visited a Robeks smoothie shop in Fairfield, Connecticut and purchased a drink for his son. When he returned home and gave the drink to his son, he experienced a severe allergic reaction due to the apparent presence of peanut products in the drink. After his son was taken to the hospital, Iannazzo returned to the Robeks and demanded to know who put peanuts in his drink. As this was later in the day, the shift had changed, and the current employees did not have an answer for him.

In response, Iannazzo began to shout obscenities and, eventually, racist insults at the several employees behind the counter. At one point, he attempted to force his way into the back end of the store by entering an employee-only door, which the employees had to physically block and lock. The police were called, though Iannazzo left before they arrived, prompting them to arrest him at his home instead.

High school student Charli Hill, one of the employees who filmed the encounter on her phone, spoke to CBS affiliate WFSB-TV about the encounter. “He started to call her racial slurs. He threatened to kill us multiple times,” Hill said. “I understand and we are sorry on behalf of Robeks for how the smoothie was made, but it gives you absolutely no right to act out like that.”

After Hill’s video went viral, Merrill Lynch fired Iannazzo from his position, stating that it “does not tolerate behavior of this kind. We immediately investigated and have taken action. This individual is no longer employed at our firm.”

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