FAIRFIELD, Conn. — An angry father, livid because his son went into anaphylactic shock after downing a drink from a Fairfield smoothie shop, was caught on a video Saturday taking out his anger on employees, including directing a racial slur at one. And now he's without work.
Gianna Miranda, 18, the employee who was called an immigrant loser, didn't hold back Monday in speaking to FOX61 about James Iannazzo, 48, of Fairfield. He was fired by Merrill Lynch.
About a half an hour after picking up a smoothie for his son at Robeks in Fairfield Saturday afternoon, James Iannazzo dialed 911.
"My son’s having an allergic reaction," Iannazzo told the dispatcher. "We gave him the EpiPen."
In fact, it took two jabs of the EpiPen to somewhat stabilize the 17-year-old, who was rushed to the hospital.
Iannazzo says his son has a peanut allergy. The mistake he admits he made was returning to Robeks in such an angry frame of mind.
"I want to speak to the (expletive) person who made that drink," Iannazzo was seen and heard on the viral video demanding.
"Was that you," he asked while looking at an employee.
And when the employees said they didn't know who made his son's smoothie and refused to give him the number for a person to contact, he lost it, firing the drink at Miranda. It struck her on the shoulder.
"I'm calling the police," the employee videotaping the incident yelled. And she did.
"Can you please come to Robeks Fairfield," the employee asked the dispatcher. "We have a customer who is out of control."
The 48-year-old man was trading verbal shots with Miranda for about 30 seconds until he can be heard on the video saying "(expletive) you, you immigrant loser!"
A teary-eyed Miranda, who has been employed by Robeks since September, said the slur "kind of made me feel uncomfortable."
She said she was going to stand her ground "because he was arguing with me. No matter how old you are even though you are older than me I'm not gonna let somebody disrespect me."
Iannazzo was arrested on multiple charges, including intimidation based on Bigotry or Bias.
After the slur, the employees say they got scared "because he did try to go to the back and open the (employees only) door and me and my other two coworkers were holding the door."
Iannazzo said in a written statement he deeply regrets his actions and that it was completely out of character. He says he will deliver an in-person apology to all employees.
"I just hope that he gets everything he deserves for doing this," Miranda said.
Robeks spokesperson Barbara Caruso issued the following statement:
"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. We appreciate the swift action by law enforcement and the judicial system in pursuing criminal charges for this unacceptable behavior. We take very seriously any concerns about order accuracy for guests who have allergy issues. The allergy notice is posted in-store, on printed menus and is available online to provide full ingredient transparency for guests. We will be investigating concerns surrounding this order in question."
Miranda acknowledges a mistake in putting peanut butter in the smoothie, but claims Iannazzo never told them of an allergy. She said had they'd known that, they would have used different mixers.
Iannazzo disputes that. His attorney says there should have been no confusion in the order because his receipt specifically said "no peanut butter."
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