Buffalo Wild Wings may cut ties with comedian who made up 9/11 survival story

buffalo wild wings

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.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.

Multimedia

Exclusive Content

Financing

Why MOD Pizza is not out of the woods yet

The Bottom Line: The fast-casual pizza chain was sold last week to Elite Restaurant Group. But few who’ve seen the finances believe the company can avoid closing large numbers of stores.

Workforce

Restaurants have a hot opportunity to improve their reputation as employers

Reality Check: New mandates for protecting workers from dangerous on-the-job heat are about to be dropped on restaurants and other employers. The industry could greatly help its labor plight by acting first.

Financing

Some McDonald's customers are doubling up on the discounts

The Bottom Line: In some markets, customers can get the fast-food chain's $5 value meal for $4. The situation illustrates a key rule in the restaurant business: Customers are savvy and will find loopholes.

Trending

More from our partners