The 14th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks was marked with tributes and vigils last week, but this week troubling new information has come to light surrounding comedian Steve Rannazzisi and his ongoing tale of escaping the World Trade Center on that fateful day.
The New York Times reports that the factuality of Rannazzisi’s account, which he has talked about in numerous interviews, was questioned recently, causing The League star, 37, to admit he’d lied.
“I was not at the Trade Center on that day,” he said in a statement from his publicist, Matthew Labov. “I don’t know why I said this. This was inexcusable. I am truly, truly sorry.”
“For many years, more than anything, I have wished that, with silence, I could somehow erase a story told by an immature young man,” Rannazzisi’s statement continued. “It only made me more ashamed. How could I tell my children to be honest when I hadn’t come clean about this?”
Rannazzisi’s lie first surfaced in 2009, when he told a reporter, “I was there and then the first tower got hit and we were like jostled all over the place.”
The actor claimed he worked for Merrill Lynch on the 54th floor. Years later, he altered his story, saying he was outside the building when the plane hit. In reality, the stand-up comedian was working in Midtown at the time.
In 2011 he gave another interview where he mentioned the attacks, saying, “I’ve spoken about it before. I just don’t ever want to feel like, anyone, I am cashing in or anything like that.”
Rannazzisi has often credited the events of that day for inspiring him to move to Los Angeles and start his career in entertainment. Already his endorsement deal with Buffalo Wild Wings is being questioned.
“We are disappointed to learn of Steve’s misrepresentations regarding the events of September 11, 2001,” the company said in a statement. “We are currently re-evaluating our relationship with Steve pending a review of all the facts.”
The star seemed sincere in his statement, adding, “It was profoundly disrespectful to those who perished and those who lost loved ones. The stupidity and guilt I have felt for many years has not abated. It was an early taste of having a public persona, and I made a terrible mistake. All I can ask is for forgiveness.”
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