More than 26 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits since the coronavirus shutdowns were put into place last month. This week, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear shamed one of those people all because of an idiotic case of mistaken identity.
During a press briefing on Monday, Beshear said that the state received what he deemed a prank unemployment claim from someone named Tupac Shakur. And he was not at all amused by the stunt. “That person may have thought they were being funny, they probably did. Except for the fact that because of them, we had to go through so many other claims,” he commented, per The Hill.
The joke ended up being on Beshear, though, when it was later revealed that the man he disgraced in public actually was named Tupac Shakur, and that he wasn’t pretending to be the late hip-hop icon. A resident of the city of Lexington, the man in question had recently lost his job as a cook after his restaurant closed and was simply trying to avail of the government-provided benefits so that he could make ends meet. Instead, he was met with ridicule.
“I’m hurt, I’m really embarrassed and I’m shocked,” Shakur told The Lexington Herald-Leader on Monday. “He [Beshear] needs to apologize. That’s just my name.”
“I’ve been struggling for like the last month to figure out how to pay the bills,” he added. Shakur, who officially changed his name to Tupac Malik Shakur in the ’90s after converting to Islam, said he filed his claim on March 13th, but has yet to hear any update. It’s likely the delay is due to the name mix-up.
Since Shakur’s true identity was confirmed, Beshear has reportedly called him to offer his apologies. The governor’s office is also apparently working to sort out the issues regarding Shakur’s unemployment claim.
Despite his dire financial status, Shakur has managed to take all the confusion in stride. Not only has he accepted Beshear’s apology, but he even told The Herald-Leader that “I understand, he’s dealing with a lot… mistakes happen.”
Perhaps Beshear should have hired former Iowa government employee and noted Tupac expert Jerry Foxhaven to verify Shakur’s identity?
Tupac Shakur — or rather the name — has been the subject of quite a bit of controversy as of late. Just last October, a white man with the rapper’s name was arrested in Tennessee on charges of aggravated assault, resisting arrest, simple possession of methamphetamine, and having unlawful drug paraphernalia. The real Tupac Shakur, of course, died in September 1996.