Steve Rannazzisi has said for more than a decade that the horrific experience of being inside the south tower of the World Trade Center on 9/11 inspired him to become a comedian.
But Rannazzzisi admitted Tuesday that he wasn't even at the World Trade Center that day.
“I don’t know why I said this. This was inexcusable. I am truly, truly sorry," Rannazzisi said in a statement released by his publicist to the New York Times. "It was profoundly disrespectful to those who perished and those who lost loved ones."
Rannazzisi said the comment was one he made when he was "immature" and that, once it was out there, he couldn't figure out how to "undo the damage."
"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 said. "It only made me more ashamed. How could I tell my children to be honest when I hadn’t come clean about this?”
"I made a terrible mistake. All I can ask is for forgiveness," Rannazzisi added.
The controversy started when Rannazzisi claimed he was working for Merrill Lynch on the 54th floor of the south tower when the first plane struck the north tower, but as the New York Times reported, he was actually in Midtown when the attack happened and never worked for Merrill Lynch, which didn't even have offices in either tower.
Rannazzisi had previously claimed that he and his girlfriend at the time had decided that day to move to Los Angeles, where he later became a comedian and landed several contracts, including one from Buffalo Wild Wings that made him the face of one of its ad campaigns.
But those contracts could now be in jeopardy.
In a statement released by Buffalo Wild Wings on Tuesday, the restaurant chain said it was "disappointed" by the news and is “currently re-evaluating our relationship with Steve pending a review of all the facts."
Rannazzisi has previously held roles in MTV’s “Punk’d,” FXX's "The League" and Comedy Central's "Steve Rannazzisi: Manchild." Comedy Central is also set to debut Rannazzisi's new one-hour special, “Breaking Dad,” on Saturday, but it is unclear whether the channel will carry through with its plan.
"We are very disappointed to hear about Steve's misrepresentations and are currently determining how we will move forward," Comedy Central spokesman Steve Albani told TheBlaze on Wednesday.
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