Actor Stephen Rannazzisi plays Kevin on FXX’s The League, the show we all know and love that revolves around a group of degenerates who are completely obsessed with their fantasy football league. For years now Stephen Rannazzisi has been telling a story about how he was working for Merrill Lynch on the 54th floor of the South Tower on 9/11 when the first plane hit the North Tower. In that story he claimed that he was able to flee the South Tower just moments before the second plane hit in the catastrophic terrorist attack on Lower Manhattan, and that the experience was the catalyst for his move to Los Angeles where he discovered acting and went on to become a big television star. Well, he’s full of shit.
Stephen Rannazzisi has been lying about working in the Twin Towers (since an interview in 2009), Merrill Lynch has NO RECORD of his employment (because he never worked for them), and when he was confronted by a reporter earlier this week he was forced to ‘pull a Brian Williams’ and admit that he’s been making up shit for years.
The New York Times reports:
In elaborate detail, Mr. Rannazzisi, 37, has described working at Merrill Lynch’s offices on the 54th floor of the south tower when the first plane struck the north tower.
“I was there and then the first tower got hit and we were like jostled all over the place,” he told an interviewer in 2009.
He fled to the street just minutes before another plane slammed into his building, he said, and decided that very day that life was too precious to waste opportunities. So he abandoned his New York desk job to pursue a career as an entertainer in Los Angeles.
Nonetheless, he said, he remained affected by his memories of that day.
“I still have dreams of like, you know, those falling dreams,” he told the interviewer.
Confronted this week, though, with evidence that undermined his account, Mr. Rannazzisi, after a day of deliberation, acknowledged on Tuesday that his account was fiction. Actually, he had been working in Midtown that day, and not for Merrill Lynch, which has no record of his employment and had no offices in either tower.
“I was not at the Trade Center on that day,” he said in a statement provided by his publicist, Matthew Labov. “I don’t know why I said this. This was inexcusable. I am truly, truly sorry.”
UPDATE: SNL’s Pete Davdison (whose father died during 9/11) is destroying Stephen Rannazzisi on Twitter
I don’t even know where to begin with this. How does a human being with any semblance of a conscience go through life justifying that lie to themselves? Nearly 3,000 Americans died in that terrorist attack and decided it would benefit his career as an actor to lie about being there and narrowly escaping death? Did he not realize that this is probably the most disgraceful living lie in the history of Hollywood?
In addition to starring on FXX’s The League Stephen Rannazzisi is also a spokesman for Buffalo Wild Wings, where he is the face of their NFL commercials. The NYT was able to get a statement from Buffalo Wild Wings regarding Stephen Rannazzisi’s standing with the company:
It was unclear how Mr. Rannazzisi’s admission might affect his standing with networks or sponsors, including Buffalo Wild Wings, which had made him the face of an ad campaign associated with the start of this N.F.L. season and which had featured him in commercials last spring for March Madness.
“We are disappointed to learn of Steve’s misrepresentations regarding the events of September 11, 2001,” Buffalo Wild Wings said in a statement Tuesday night. “We are currently re-evaluating our relationship with Steve pending a review of all the facts.”
The NYT notes that the story of narrowly escaping the Twin Towers with his life on September 11th, 2001 is a story that he told over, and over and over:
As for his Sept. 11 account, Mr. Rannazzisi gave a detailed version to the comedian Marc Maron on his podcast in December 2009, saying he had worked as an account manager for Merrill for a year and a half and had been watching from the street when the second plane struck.
Mr. Rannazzisi gave a similar account on the TV special “Pauly Shore & Friends” in 2009.
In recent years, Mr. Rannazzisi played down his account. In a 2013 radio interview on “The Don Geronimo Show,” he corrected the interviewer who suggested he had been in the south tower on Sept. 11.
This isn’t even a case of career suicide, this is a man telling a detailed lie that’s so egregious he should never be allowed back in the state of New York, let alone New York City. I wish I had more to say here but I’m just speechless. If you have any thoughts on his actions I’d love to hear those thoughts down below in the comments.
To read the full report on his 9/11 lie I suggest you click on through to the New York Times by following those links above.