Buffalo Wild Wings said it is reconsidering its relationship with comedian-pitchman Steve Rannazzisi after he admitted to falsifying his story of 9/11 survival.
Rannazzisi, who stars in the FXX series “The League,” appeared in several of the casual-dining chain’s sports-themed ad spots earlier this year.
As brought to light by The New York Times, the comedian fabricated the story of his escape from Merrill Lynch’s office in the South Tower of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, which he shared as early as 2009 and had repeated several times since. As it turns out, Merrill Lynch had no office in either tower and said it has no record of Rannazzisi’s employment.
In a prepared statement to the NYT and via a series of Twitter messages, the comedian Wednesday came clean about the fact that he was not near the World Trade Center during the terrorist attack.
“We are disappointed to learn of Steve’s misrepresentations regarding the events of September 11, 2001,” Buffalo Wild Wings said in a statement. “We are currently reevaluating our relationship with Steve pending a review of all the facts.”
Controversies like this have illuminated how spokespeople can prove a PR challenge for chains. Subway this summer ended its relationship with longtime spokesman Jared Fogle after he became embroiled in a child-pornography investigation.