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Kentucky governor apologizes after accusing Tupac Shakur of unemployment prank

Tupac Shakur is a real resident of Kentucky.

Andy Beshear Bryan Woolston/The Associated Press

During a news conference on Monday (April 27), Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear called out the “bad apples” who filed for unemployment benefits under fake names during the pandemic.

“We had somebody apply for unemployment for Tupac Shakur here in Kentucky,” the governor said. “And that person may have thought they were being funny. Except for the fact that because of them, we had to go through so many other claims.”

What he didn’t know was that Shakur was a real resident of the state and he recently lost his job as a cook at a local restaurant due to COVID-19.

“I’m hurt, I’m really embarrassed and I’m shocked,” Shakur told the Lexington Herald-Leader on Monday. “He needs to apologize. That’s just my name.”

Shakur told the outlet that he legally changed his name after converting to Islam in the 1990s, shortly after the “Dear Mama” rapper was killed. He chose the last name because it means “thankful to God” in Arabic.

He said that he applied for unemployment on March 13 and received his letter of monetary determination four days later. Shakur has since waited to receive the funds.

“I’ve been struggling for like the last month to figure out how to pay the bills,” he told the newspaper.

Jeb Messer, whose wife owns the restaurant where Shakur worked, said he was upset for their former employee. He believes the state should have worked harder to authenticate Shakur’s identity before assuming it was a prank.

“Something this minor shouldn’t hold up a system that’s ensuring the well-being of this many people right now,” Messer said.

Beshear called Shakur on Tuesday (April 28) morning to resolve the issue and apologize. He said that he forgave the governor for the error and appreciated the call.

“I understand, he’s dealing with a lot,” Shakur said. “Mistakes happen.”

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