A well-known comedian and actor has admitted he lied about escaping from the World Trade Center on 9/11.
“I don’t know why I said this,” he said in a statement through his publicist to the Huffington Post. “This was inexcusable. I am truly, truly sorry.”
Rannazzisi told comedian Marc Maron in a 2009 interview he was working as an account manager at Merrill Lynch and watched the second plane crash from the street on Sept. 11, 2001.
“[I was] sort of the party starter of Merrill Lynch, until our building got hit with a plane, and the party ended right there,” he said.
He told Maron he was working on the 54th floor of the south tower when the north one got hit. After the port authority made an announcement telling everyone to stay calm, Rannazzisi says he went outside only to see his tower get hit.
“So I went downstairs, walked outside, saw all the pandemonium, and then about five or six minutes later, just ‘bang.’”
“And all your coworkers were upstairs?” Maron asked.
“Yeah, I couldn’t tell exactly where it went in, so I had no idea, so I called up to the office and there was pandemonium, they were like ‘we're on our way down, we’re on our way down,’ then I just started f***ing booking it,” he said.
After stopping to catch his breath, he then said he watched the south tower fall.
But as it turns out, not only was Rannazzisi actually working in midtown Manhattan at the time of the attacks, he was never employed by Merrill Lynch. According to the Times, the company has no record of his employment and didn't have offices in either towers.
He recounted the story on another podcast, the news outlet reported, but later downplayed the story in a 2013 interview with the "Don Geronimo Show."
Rannazzisi also claimed that his now-wife, Tracy Rannazzisi, was also working on the 24th floor of the south tower and he had no idea where she was for several hours. That was also fabricated, according to the Times.
The tragedy fuelled their decision to move to Los Angeles, he said. And that's when his acting career took off.
Rannazzisi now has a Comedy Central special called "Breaking Dad" still scheduled to air Saturday night, but the network is now deciding how to move forward, according to Deadline.
FX Networks, which airs "The League", said in a statement to Deadline that it was "disappointed" to hear that the actor had lied, but said “we believe Steve is sincere in his apology and will do everything he can to make amends moving forward.”
He also upset "Saturday Night Live" comedian Pete Davidson, whose firefighter father died on Sept. 11, according to Entertainment Weekly.
It's ok @SteveRannazzisi people make mistakes ... Can't wait to meet my dad for lunch later— Pete Davidson (@petedavidson) September 16, 2015
However, Davidson later wrote that Rannazzisi had apologized to him personally.
Take it easy on @SteveRannazzisi ... He reached out to me and is truly sorry. We all sometimes lie and exaggerate a story to seem cooler ...— Pete Davidson (@petedavidson) September 16, 2015
The comedian said in his statement that the lie always haunted him.
“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? It is to the victims of 9/11 and to the people that love them — and the people that love me — that I ask for forgiveness."
Also on HuffPost