‘The League’ Star Steve Rannazzisi Admits Lie Over Escaping 9/11
FX and FXX’s The League has quietly sprinted toward the end zone of its seventh and final season in recent weeks, but may find its victory lap marred by a disturbing truth. Series lead Steve Rannazzisi has publicly admitted to fabricating a long-told story of nearly perishing at the World Trade Center in the 9/11 attack of 2001.
Rannazzisi, a standup comedian and Buffalo Wild Wings spokesman known primarily for his role as Kevin MacArthur of The League, had apparently invoked 9/11 as his impetus for joining the entertainment business, claiming to have previously worked at Merrill Lynch on floor 54 of the south tower. In various interviews, Rannazzisi has made repeat mention over the intervening years that on the morning of September 11, he’d escaped to the street after the first plane impacted the north tower, subsequently deciding “life is too precious” to remain in the business world.
Not only that, but the actor had also claimed recurring dreams of falling from the towers, and even involved his wife in perpetuating the lie. The New York Times evidently uncovered that Rannazzisi had in fact worked in Midtown, and not for Merrill Lynch, who had no office space in the World Trade Center regardless. Confronted with this, Rannazzisi issued an apologetic retraction:
As a young man, I made a mistake that I deeply regret and for which apologies may still not be enough.
After I moved with my wife to Los Angeles from New York City in 2001 shortly after 9/11, I told people that I was in one of the World Trade Center towers on 9/11. It wasn’t true. I was in Manhattan but working in a building in Midtown and 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?
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.
FX have not issued any comment on the matter, though Buffalo Wild Wings expressed their disappointment in a separate statement, claiming “We are currently re-evaluating our relationship with Steve pending a review of all the facts.”
In the meantime, The League continues to air its final season on FXX, while Comedy Central remains scheduled to Rannazzisi’s upcoming stand-up special Breaking Dad, but may also rethink its relationship to the comedian. We’ll see what shakes out, but is Rannazzisis’ deplorable fiction a career-killer?