Comedian Steve Rannazzisi, a Smithtown native and star of the FXX sitcom "The League," confessed Wednesday, following a New York Times expose, that he was not working in the World Trade Center during the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. He backtracked on his longtime story that he had escaped from the 54th floor of the south tower after the first airplane devastatingly hit the north.
Rannazzisi had claimed the epiphany of survival prompted him to leave his desk job and seek an entertainment career in Los Angeles.
"As a young man, I made a mistake that I deeply regret and for which apologies may still not be enough," tweeted Rannazzisi, 37, who plays assistant district attorney and fantasy-league commissioner Kevin MacArthur on the show.
"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."
He added: "I don't know why I said this. This was inexcusable. I am truly, truly sorry."
Addressing those who were killed in the horrifying attack, and the those they left behind, Rannazzisi said, "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. It was profoundly disrespectful to those who perished and those who lost loved ones. The stupidity and guilt I have felt for many years has not abated. It was an early taste of having a public persona, and I made a terrible mistake."
A statement from FX expressed disappointment in the comedian's ruse, adding "It is also unfortunate that he did not admit to the truth sooner. That said we believe Steve is sincere in his apology and will do everything he can to make amends moving forward." FX will continue airing the final season of "The League" as planned.
Rannazzisi's latest Comedy Central special, "Breaking Dad," airs Saturday. A network spokesman told Newsday: "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."
Rannazzisi attended St. Anthony's High School in South Huntington for a year before leaving it for Smithtown High, where he graduated in 1996.