NEW YORK -- Comedian/actor Steve Rannazzisi has always attributed his success in entertainment to the life-changing events of 9/11, which is a seminal moment in many people's lives, particularly those living in New York at the time, as he was. But Rannazzisi's story is that he was in the south tower of the World Trade Center, narrowly escaping with his life -- and now he admits that was a lie.
After being confronted with evidence refuting his story, Rannazzisi says in a statement to the New York Times, "I was not at the Trade Center on that day. 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," he continues. "It only made me more ashamed. How could I tell my children to be honest when I hadn’t come clean about this?”
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.”
Rannazzisi's story was first told on a Marc Maron podcast in 2009, but he has since tried to walk it back a little. In a 2013 interview, Rannazzisi corrected the "Don Geronimo Show" interviewer and said he was "outside" in downtown New York during 9/11.
His original story was that he was working in Merrill Lynch's offices on the 54th floor of the south tower. He said he made it to the street minutes before the second plane hit and it was that moment that made him and his now-wife decide to live New York.
In addition to "The League" and a new stand-up special on Comedy Central Saturday (Sept. 19), Rannazzisi is the spokesman for Buffalo Wild Wings. In a statement, BWWs says they are re-evaluating that relationship.
"We are disappointed to learn of Steve’s misrepresentations regarding the events of Sept. 11, 2001," says the sports bar chain. "We are currently re-evaluating our relationship with Steve pending a review of all the facts.”