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Steve Rannazzisi, best known for his work on FXX’s The League, has long told the story of how he narrowly escaped with his life from the World Trade Center on 9/11. The brush with death convinced him to follow his dreams and leave his job at Merrill Lynch. The life-affirming tale has long played well in interviews and on podcasts, but unfortunately, it turns out the entire thing is one big fat lie.
Earlier this week, the actor was presented with evidence that called into question his account. Merrill Lynch has no record of his employment, and the company didn’t even keep offices in the World Trade Center. So, upon further review, he finally decided to come clean and admit he made up the entire thing and just kept doubling down on the lie in subsequent interviews.
Here’s what he told 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. It only made me more ashamed. How could I tell my children to be honest when I hadn’t come clean about this?”
Through stand-up specials and acting appearances, Steve Rannazzisi has long built a reputation as being a likeable everyman,the bumbling, loveable dude who means well. This fabricated story runs opposite that reputation. Nothing about it means well at all, and there’s a good chance it will lead to lost opportunities and lost revenue. The actor is currently employed as the lead in commercials for Buffalo Wild Wings, and while a formal decision hasn’t been made about his future, the company released a statement that wasn’t exactly glowing.
“We are disappointed to learn of Steve’s misrepresentations regarding the events of September 11, 2001. We are currently re-evaluating our relationship with Steve pending a review of all the facts.”
It’s unclear exactly where The League star will go from here, but considering how much of a PR disaster this is, it’s likely he’ll step away for a little bit and hope it all blows over. Here’s to hoping when he returns, it’ll be with a little more honesty and a little less pride.