Thursday, September 17, 2015
Comedian Steve Rannazzisi lied about being in World Trade Center on 9/11
In an extraordinary confession via a series of tweets, comedian/actor Steve Rannazzisi admitted Wednesday he lied about being in one of the World Trade Center twin towers during the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York.
Tweeting in response to a New York Times story uncovering his longstanding false narrative, Rannazzisi, 37, said he was an "immature" young man who made a mistake, said he didn't understand why he said what he said 14 years ago, that he was "truly, truly sorry," and that he begged for forgiveness.
He said he started telling people he was in the World Trade Center during 9/11 soon after in 2001. But he was actually somewhere else, he acknowledged. He had no explanation for why he claimed this,
He said he apologized to the actual victims of the terrorist attacks and asked for forgiveness.
It was not immediately clear what the consequences would be, if any, to Rannazzisi's career. He has starred for seven seasons on The League (about a fantasy football league) on FXX, and has a one-hour special scheduled for Saturday on Comedy Central, where he's starred in other specials. He's also the face of the ad campaign forBuffalo Wild Wings, one of the special's sponsors.
The Times quoted a statement issued by Buffalo Wild Wings Tuesday night, in which the company said it was "disappointed" about the revelation and is "re-evaluating our relationship" with Rannazzisi.
Comedy Central expressed similar sentiments Wednesday. Rannazzisi's special,Breaking Dad, will debut Saturday night.
"We just learned about this last night," said Comedy Central spokesman Steve Albani. "We are very disappointed to hear about Steve's misrepresentations and are currently determining how we will move forward."
FXX was disappointed, too, but ultimately forgiving.The League is in its final season.
“We are disappointed to learn that Steve Rannazzisi lied about being in the World Trade Center on 9/11, said John Solberg, the network spokesman, said in a statement. "It is upsetting that he would fabricate a story about having survived that horrible tragedy. It is also unfortunate that he did not admit to the truth sooner. That said we believe Steve is sincere in his apology and will do everything he can to make amends moving forward.”
Rannazzisi is not doing interviews and his publicist, Matthew Labov, did not return a call for comment.
According to the Times, Rannazzisi has been telling his 9/11 story in interviews as a way of explaining how he switched from New York stockbroker to an entertainment career in Los Angeles.
His story was that he was at his desk at Merrill Lynch on the 54th floor of the south tower when the first plane struck the north tower.
He fled to the street minutes before the second terrorist-controlled plane slammed into his building, he said, and decided then that life was too precious to waste opportunities. So he left New York to pursue a career in showbiz.
But it wasn't true. "Actually, he had been working in Midtown that day, and not for Merrill Lynch, which has no record of his employment and had no offices in either tower," the Times reported.
When confronted, Rannazzisi waited a day, then confessed. He tweeted that he had long wished the story would go away and that he felt shame before his own children.
"The stupidity and guilt I have felt for many years has not abated," he tweeted.
Even Saturday Night Live cast member Pete Davidson, whose firefighter father died in the World Trade Center, relented after initially tweeting sarcastically to Rannazzisi. He said he loves The League and thinks Rannazzisi is a funny comic.