An altercation filmed at a smoothie store in Fairfield went viral on TikTok on Saturday, gaining 14 million views.
Police received multiple calls at 2:26 p.m. about a male customer in the Robeks who was throwing objects, yelling at the employees, and refusing to leave.
According to Fairfield police, James Iannazzo, 49, made a purchase at Robeks without an issue. Around 1:39 p.m., he called 911 requesting an EMS response to his home for a juvenile suffering from an allergic reaction who was then transported to an area hospital.
A short time later, he returned to Robeks and confronted the employees, demanding to know who made the smoothie with peanuts that caused his child’s allergic reaction. One of the employees, Charli Hill, 17, began to film the situation as it escalated and later posted it on TikTok under the username @cjjbreezy.
When the employees could not answer who made his smoothie, saying they could not recall, he can be heard shouting multiple obscenities and derogatory/racial slurs. The employees asked him to leave the property as he grew more irate. He threw the full smoothie at one of the employees, Gianna Miranda, before they called the police.
He was asked to leave multiple times throughout the situation. Iannazzo then attempted to open a locked door that led to an “Employees Only” area where the women were, according to police.
He left the scene prior to police arrival but was identified shortly after. He turned himself in without incident, saying he was upset about his son having a severe allergic reaction.
According to police, Iannazzo said he never told the employees about the allergy, but only requested there be no peanut butter in the drink.
Miranda, who had been working at Robeks for 10 months, told News 8 she’s had her share of difficult customers, but said there’s never been anyone “this aggressive” and was “never threatened to get killed by any of them.”
She said they were yelling in each other’s faces because she was mad, and “at that point, I really though he was gonna throw something again or try to hit me or just something.”
“As a person who has had multiple customer service jobs, I’ve dealt with people like this, I don’t think we get paid enough to deal with it all,” Miranda said.
She went on to explain that she’s working at the shop to save up money for a car and to go to college.
Iannazzo released a statement following the incident.
“My actions at Robeks were wrong, and I deeply regret them,” Iannazzo said in the statement. “They do not reflect my values or my character. I feel terrible that I lost my composure so completely.”
Iannazzo said that he returned to Robeks to determine what ingredients were in the smoothie that he ordered earlier that day and made the comments because his 17-year-old son had suffered life-threatening anaphylactic shock. Iannazzo said the smoothie contained some sort of nut product, even though he advised the employees of his nut allergy when he originally ordered the 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.”
Iannazzo thanked his wife and the first responders, who he believe saved his son’s life, noting that this situation 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 Robeks, and I wish I had not done so,” Iannazzo said. “I also wish they had been more careful preparing my son’s beverage. I will be extending my apologies personally to the Robeks organization, particularly the staff that was working there that night.”
Iannazzo was charged with Intimidation Based on Bigotry or Bias in the Second Degree, Breach of Peace in the Second Degree, and Criminal Trespass in the Fist Degree. He is due in Bridgeport Superior court on February 7.