A central and oft-repeated element in The League star Steve Rannazzisi's rise to fame has been his assertion that the tragic events of September 11, 2001 were what initially spurred him to seriously pursue his career in entertainment, prompting a sudden move from New York to Los Angeles shortly after the World Trade Center attacks. Rannazzisi has stated on multiple occasions that he was working for Merrill Lynch on the 54th floor of the south tower when the first hijacked plane struck the north tower, adding that he narrowly escaped certain death by running into the streets and having a tidy coming-of-age moment.
On Tuesday, Rannazzisi revealed that he actually made the entire thing up. "I was not at the Trade Center that day," the comedian said in a statement. "I don't know why I said this. This was inexcusable. I am truly, truly sorry." Rannazzisi also took to Twitter to express his regrets surrounding his fabrication's potential impact on actual 9/11 victims and escapees:
Though FX Productions, who recently premiered the first episode of The League's seventh and final season, hasn't released a statement regarding Rannazzisi's admission, Buffalo Wild Wings wasted no time issuing their own shortly after news of Rannazzisi's decade-strong lies slowly permeated the internet. Rannazzisi was recently made the face of Buffalo Wild Wings' NFL ad campaign, though the continuation of that campaign is currently up for debate. "We are disappointed to learn of Steve’s misrepresentations regarding the events of September 11, 2001,” a Buffalo Wild Wings representative tells the New York Times. “We are currently re-evaluating our relationship with Steve pending a review of all the facts.”
Comedian Pete Davidson, whose father died inside the Twin Towers, poked fun at Rannazzisi with the following tweet:
It's ok @SteveRannazzisi people make mistakes ... Can't wait to meet my dad for lunch later— Pete Davidson (@petedavidson) September 16, 2015
Rannazzisi completely missed the point, saying in a now-deleted tweet, "Thank you Pete. I really appreciate it." Davidson then went on to sincerely sympathize with Rannazzisi's gaffe.
All kidding aside this @SteveRannazzisi story sucks because he's actually a funny comic and I love The League. It's fucked up— Pete Davidson (@petedavidson) September 16, 2015
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
..Unfortunately this is a very touchy topic n very near n dear 2 peoples hearts.Its years later but he apologized n owned up 2 it like a man— Pete Davidson (@petedavidson) September 16, 2015
Comedy Central, who is set to premiere Rannazzisi's new special Breaking Dad on Saturday, confirmed in a statement to Deadline that they are currently evaluating their options in light of this admission:
We just learned about this last night. We are very disappointed to hear about Steve’s misrepresentations and are currently determining how we will move forward.