Man with Same Name as Rapper Tupac Shakur Gets Apology After Governor Makes Fun of Unemployment Claim
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear has publically apologized to Tupac Malik Shakur
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear is apologizing after he claimed that a man's application for unemployment was not legitimate because he shares a name with a famous rapper.
On Monday, Beshear expressed his disappointment in an individual who used the name "Tupac Shakur" to file for unemployment, saying the move delayed thousands of other claims.
"We had somebody apply for unemployment for Tupac Shakur here in Kentucky," Beshear said during his Monday press conference, according to the Lexington Herald Reader. The rapper died in 1996 after being shot in Las Vegas.
"And that person may have thought they were being funny, they probably did," Beshear continued, per the outlet. "Except for the fact that because of them, we had to go through so many other claims."
But Tupac Malik Shakur is no prankster.
The 46-year-old is a cook who was laid off when his restaurants closed due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
"I’ve been struggling for like the last month trying to figure out how to pay the bills," Shakur, who goes by his middle name, told the Lexington Herald Reader. He filed for unemployment insurance on March 13 and has been waiting to receive his funds.
"I’m hurt, I’m really embarrassed and I’m shocked," he added. "He needs to apologize. That’s just my name."
Shakur received his apology on Tuesday.
"I owe somebody an apology tonight," Beshear said during his press conference Tuesday. "Last night I spent a little bit of time talking about fraudulent claims holding us up. I mentioned an individual that had filed in the name of Tupac Shakur."
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"I didn't know — and it's my fault — that we have a Kentuckian who goes by Malik whose name is Tupac Shakur," Beshear said. "I talked to him on the phone today. I apologized. I told him how it happened, but I owned it. It's my fault."
"He was gracious," Beshear continued. "I said I was sorry if I embarrassed him or caused him any attention he didn't want. He was very kind, he ended the call 'God bless,' and we're gonna make sure that we resolve his claim."
Beshear then addressed Shakur directly.
"Malik, thank you for being so kind, and again, I'm sorry," he said.
Beshear's spokesman, Sebastian Kitchen, told the Courier-Journal in a statement that the state's Office of Unemployment Insurance is working to fix the delay.
"The governor was advised that a fraudulent claim had been filed in the name of Tupac Shakur," Kitchen said. "It now appears that a Kentuckian by that name has filed a claim. This morning, Gov. Beshear called Mr. Shakur to apologize. The Office of Unemployment Insurance is working to resolve the claim."
Shakur told the Lexington Herald Reader that he understands the mistake.
"I understand, he’s dealing with a lot," he said. "Mistakes happen."
The paper reported that Shakur legally changed his name in 1998 because Shakur means "thankful to God" in Arabic.