Sharing your name with a famous personality does not always go well. The same became true for Tupac Shakur, a 46-year-old unemployed cook who lives in Lexington. Sharing a similar name with a famous American rapper, Shakur was denied unemployment benefits after the authorities felt it was a prank.
According to the US Labour Department, nearly 26.4 million Americans have filed for the unemployment insurance benefits since mid-March, after losing their jobs due to coronavirus pandemic. Unemployment in the US took a turn for the worse after the states, in their bid to control the community spread of the fatal virus, passed the stay-at-home orders.
Is Tupac Shakur a victim of the system?
The 46-year-old cook, with Malik as his middle name, lost his job after the restaurant, where he worked as a cook, closed due to the pandemic. Speaking to Lexington Herald-Leader, Shakur who filed for the unemployment insurance on March 13, said still hasn't received money: "I've been struggling for like the last month trying to figure out how to pay the bills."
Unaware that his benefits were stalled after the government officials believed it to be a prank, Shakur said: "I'm hurt, I'm really embarrassed and I'm shocked." Referring to Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear's public remark of using the name of deceased rapper's name for fooling the government, the unemployed cook said: "He needs to apologize. That's just my name."
Kentucky Governor apologises for calling Shakur an example of 'bad apple'
Embarrassed over his public gaffe of mistaking the unemployed cook for the slain rapper, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear apologised for his remarks.
According to New York Post, on Monday, Beshear, while referring to few 'bad apples', including an unidentified person who filed an unemployment claim under the name of rapper Tupac Shakur, as the reason behind the slow processing of the state's unemployment benefits, said: "We had somebody apply for unemployment for Tupac Shakur here in Kentucky. And 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."
The famous American rapper and actor Tupac Amaru Shakur, popularly known by his stage name 2Pac, was a well-known figure in West Coast hip hop. Known for addressing contemporary social issues through his songs, Shakur was shot dead in Las Vegas on 7 September in 1996.
State now working to release Shakur's monetary claim
The Herald-Leader reported that on Tuesday morning, Beshear reportedly called Shakur personally to apologize for his remarks. "I understand, he's dealing with a lot. Mistakes happen," Shakur told the publication.
WLOX reported that upon realising their mistake the Office of Unemployment Insurance is working to resolve the claim filed by Shakur. "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. I said I'm sorry if I embarrassed him or caused him any attention he didn't want. He was very kind. He ended the call [with] 'God bless,' and we're gonna make sure we resolve his claim," Beshear said during his Tuesday press conference.
The governor mentioned that 37,000 unemployment claims filed in March are yet to resolved. "More than 8,000 of them need identity verification, and some have employer separation issues," he said.