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Kentucky governor apologizes to man named Tupac Shakur, after using him as example of fake unemployment claim

At least one person in Kentucky is infected after taking part at a "coronavirus party" with a group of young adults, Gov. Andy Beshear said Tuesday. (Provided Photo/Matt Stone/Courier Journal/Imagn via CNN)

(CNN) — The governor of Kentucky apologized on Tuesday for saying someone named Tupac Shakur, who had applied for unemployment in the state, was an example of fraud — when it was actually the person’s real name.

In a press conference on Monday, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said someone in the state had filed for unemployment under the name Tupac Shakur, calling the person out for “using somebody else’s identity.”

“And that person probably felt they were being funny, they probably did,” Beshear said. “Except for the fact that, because of them, we’ve got to go through so many other claims.”

That’s “not okay,” the governor continued. “Can’t be doing that.”

One day later, Beshear apologized after finding out there is really a Kentuckian named Tupac Shakur, the same name as the late rapper who was gunned down on a Las Vegas street in 1996

“I talked to him on the phone today. I apologized,” Beshear said. “I told him how it happened. But 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 ended the call ‘God bless.’”

The governor said the state is now going to make sure that the unemployment claim made by Shakur, who goes by Malik, is resolved.

Unemployment claims have surged as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, as closed businesses led to many people out of work.

Between April 12 and 18, 4.4 million people applied for unemployment, according to the US Department of Labor. Two weeks earlier, 6.6 million people applied. Since March 14, American workers filed 26.5 million initial claims, according to the latest seasonally adjusted numbers.

Kevin Hassett, a senior economic adviser to President Donald Trump, warned Tuesday that the jobless rate in the United States could spike to between 16% and 20% by June. The latest rate, from March, reported unemployment at 4.4%.