"I don t know why I said this. This was inexcusable. I am truly, truly sorry," the comedian said

By Michele Corriston
Updated September 16, 2015 11:25 AM
Splash News Online

The week after Americans commemorated the 14th anniversary of 9/11, a TV star is confessing he lied about escaping the devastating terrorist attack.

The League‘s Steve Rannazzisi admitted his deceit to The New York Times on Wednesday.

“I was not at the Trade Center on that day,” he said in a statement. “I don’t know why I said this. This was inexcusable. I am truly, truly sorry.”

Rannazzisi, 37, had claimed that he fled his office at Merrill Lynch in the south tower of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, after a hijacked plane crashed into the north one – and that he found the near-death experience so harrowing that he moved to Los Angeles to try his hand at comedy. Now, he says he never even worked at the wealth management firm, and Merrill Lynch never had space in the Twin Towers.

He repeated the story to the press multiple times, from a 2009 interview with Marc Maron, an appearance on Pauly Shore and Friends that same year and a 2011 podcast.

“For many years, more than anything, I have wished that, with silence, I could somehow erase a story told by an immature young man,” he said in his statement. “It only made me more ashamed. How could I tell my children to be honest when I hadn’t come clean about this?

“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. All I can ask is for forgiveness.”

Rannazzisi is married and has three children. He has played Kevin MacArthur on FXX’s football fantasy league sitcom since 2009, though this season is its last and production wraps up next month.

In a statement to PEOPLE, FX Networks stands behind its star.

“We are disappointed to learn that Steve Rannazzisi lied about being in the World Trade Center on 9/11. It is upsetting that he would fabricate a story about having survived that horrible tragedy,” the network says. “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.”

But his endorsement deal with Buffalo Wild Wings could be at stake.

“We are disappointed to learn of Steve’s misrepresentations regarding the events of Sept. 11, 2001,” the company tells PEOPLE in a statement. “We are currently reevaluating our relationship with Steve pending a review of all the facts.”