* Famous and massively wealthy movie actor
* Longtime supporter of leftwing Democrat candidates & causes
* Laments what he views as America’s long history of racism & oppression
* Harbors deep contempt for Donald Trump
* Opposes election-integrity measures
Tom Hanks was born in Concord, California on July 9, 1956. Having experienced his parents’ divorce when he was five years old, Hanks has described his childhood as a time of loneliness and neglect. He developed an interest in acting upon joining his high-school theater program, and subsequently pursued theater as a student at Chabot College in Northern California before transferring to California State University, Sacramento. But Hanks dropped out of school to become an intern at the Great Lakes Theater Festival in Cleveland, Ohio, where he gained experience in such aspects of theater production as lighting, set design, and stage management.
Hanks relocated to New York City during the late 1970s. From 1980-82 he starred in an ABC show called Bosom Buddies, where his character regularly dressed as a woman in order to live in an all-female hotel. Upon securing that role, Hanks moved to Los Angeles. He also made several guest appearances in popular sitcoms such as Happy Days and Family Ties. By the mid-1980s, Hanks had been casted as the lead role in a number of movies before appearing in his first box-office hit, Big, in 1988.
During the 1990s and thereafter, Hanks went on to star in numerous blockbuster films, including Philadelphia (1993), Forrest Gump (1994), Toy Story (1995), Saving Private Ryan (1998), Catch Me If You Can (2002), and The Da Vinci Code (2006).
Supporter of Bill Clinton & Al Gore
As is common among wealthy Hollywood actors, Hanks is an outspoken supporter of the Democratic Party. During Bill Clinton’s presidency, Hanks remarked that he was “friendly” with the president and had stayed overnight at the White House on at least three occasions. He also contributed $10,000 to Clinton’s legal defense fund which was established at the onset of the Monica Lewinsky scandal in 1998. Moreover, Hanks was in attendance for Clinton’s 1995 presentation of the Space Medal of Honor to astronaut Jim Lovell at the White House. Lovell’s book, Lost Moon, was adapted to the 1995 film Apollo 13, in which Hanks also starred.
Hanks donated to Democrat Al Gore’s failed presidential campaign in 2000. During a speech at a Democrat donor dinner in Beverly Hills four years earlier, Bill Clinton had personally thanked Hanks “for all the wonderful things you said about unquestionably the finest Vice President [Gore] who ever served this country.”
Appearance in a Video with a Blackfaced Character
In March 2012, The Daily Caller obtained footage of Hanks and singer Glenn Frey serving as co-emcees of a March 13, 2004 fundraiser where they had exchanged race-themed jokes with a white man dressed as an African native — complete with blackface makeup, a large Afro wig, a leopard-print toga, and an arm band made to look like it was made with animal teeth. Congress of Racial Equality spokesman Niger Innis in 2012 responded to the video by describing it as “an orchestrated, heinous, and racist ‘Stepin Fetchit’ routine that Mr. Hanks was a part of.” He also called on President Obama “to remove Mr. Hanks’ voice-over from his video, and end any association or affiliation with Mr. Hanks.” “I am outraged, offended,” Innis added. “You know, people can make a slip of the tongue, make a politically incorrect spur of the moment mistake. But this seems to have been an orchestrated racist activity, which Mr. Hanks at best was an intimate witness to, and at worse a participant.”
Supporter of Barack Obama
A strong supporter of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2007 and 2008, Hanks was among the numerous celebrities to pay thousands of dollars to hear Obama’s remarks at a Beverly Hills reception in February 2007. In May 2008, Hanks publicly endorsed Obama for president. “He has the integrity and the inspiration to unify us, as did FDR, and Harry Truman, and John F. Kennedy, and even Ronald Reagan when they ran for the job,” said the actor. Hanks further suggested that an Obama presidency would be a shining example of “breaking boundaries” in “a country that once said people of his skin color were only three-fifths of a human being.”
Hanks contributed $28,500 to the Obama Victory Fund in 2008.
In 2012, Hanks narrated a 17-minute video entitled “The Road We’ve Traveled” for President Obama’s re-election campaign.
Criticizing Mormons for Defining Marriage as a Union Between Man & Woman
In January 2009, Hanks specifically attacked Mormons as “un-American” for supporting California’s Proposition 8, a state constitutional amendment that defined marriage exclusively as a union between one man and one woman. “The truth is that a lot of Mormons gave a lot of money to the church to make Prop 8 happen,” he stated. “There are a lot of people who feel that is un-American and I am one of them.” Hanks also referred to Proposition 8 as “codified discrimination.”
Lamenting America’s Long History of Racism
While producing a 2010 HBO series about the Pacific Theater of World War II, Hanks compared U.S. involvement in that conflict, which he described as a battle rooted in “racism and terror,” to-America’s modern-day conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. “Back in World War II, we viewed the Japanese as ‘yellow, slant-eyed dogs’ that believed in different gods,” he noted. “They were out to kill us because our way of living was different. We, in turn, wanted to annihilate them because they were different. Does that sound familiar, by any chance, to what’s going on today?”
On June 4, 2021, Hanks authored a New York Times op-ed piece in which he articulated his frustration over the fact that he had not learned about the 1921 Tulsa Massacre while in school. Some key excerpts:
“I never read a page of any school history book about how, in 1921, a mob of white people burned down a place called Black Wall Street, killed as many as 300 of its Black citizens and displaced thousands of Black Americans who lived in Tulsa, Okla.
“My experience was common: History was mostly written by white people about white people like me, while the history of Black people — including the horrors of Tulsa — was too often left out. Until relatively recently, the entertainment industry, which helps shape what is history and what is forgotten, did the same….
“Tulsa was never more than a city on the prairie. The Oklahoma Land Rush got some paragraphs in one of those school years, but the 1921 burning out of the Black population that lived there was never mentioned. Nor, I have learned since, was [there any mention of] anti-Black violence on large and small scales, especially between the end of Reconstruction and the victories of the civil rights movement; there was nothing on the Slocum massacre of Black residents in Texas by an all-white mob in 1910 or the Red Summer of white supremacist terrorism in 1919. Many students like me were told that the lynching of Black Americans was tragic but not that these public murders were commonplace and often lauded by local papers and law enforcement….
“The truth about Tulsa, and the repeated violence by some white Americans against Black Americans, was systematically ignored, perhaps because it was regarded as too honest, too painful a lesson for our young white ears. So, our predominantly white schools didn’t teach it, our mass appeal works of historical fiction didn’t enlighten us, and my chosen industry didn’t take on the subject in films and shows until recently. It seems white educators and school administrators (if they even knew of the Tulsa massacre, for some surely did not) omitted the volatile subject for the sake of the status quo, placing white feelings over Black experience — literally Black lives in this case.
“How different would perspectives be had we all been taught about Tulsa in 1921, even as early as the fifth grade? Today, I find the omission tragic, an opportunity missed, a teachable moment squandered. When people hear about systemic racism in America, just the use of those words draws the ire of those white people who insist that since July 4, 1776, we have all been free, we were all created equally, that any American can become president and catch a cab in Midtown Manhattan no matter the color of our skin, that, yes, American progress toward justice for all can be slow but remains relentless. Tell that to the century-old survivors of Tulsa and their offspring. And teach the truth to the white descendants of those in the mob that destroyed Black Wall Street.
“Today, I think historically based fiction entertainment must portray the burden of racism in our nation for the sake of the art form’s claims to verisimilitude and authenticity….”
Supporter of Hillary Clinton
In October 2016, Hanks stated that he would not be “making any secret about” his intent to vote for Hillary Clinton in the upcoming presidential election, because he had “absolutely no faith in a self-serving gas bag like the other guy [Donald Trump] who’s running for president.” Added Hanks:
“I think without a doubt the world is going through something quite profound in which the future is shaky, in which the future is mysterious, in which great parts of the world are dealing with problems that seem as though they have no solution. When America has faced those circumstances and times, we have never turned to a simplistic, self-involved gasbag of a candidate.
“I view all of our problems as if we have a very, very serious heart condition that needs the most precise, long-term care to look after and I’m not going to turn to somebody [like Trump] who says. ‘You know, you want me to be a cardiac surgeon? I can be a cardiac surgeon if I want to.’ No, I’m going to go to somebody who is the most experienced, the most knowledgeable and the most wise when it comes down to looking after problems that are affecting everybody on the planet earth right now.”
Presidential Medal of Freedom
On November 22, 2016, Barack Obama, in one of his last official actions as president, awarded Hanks the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Contempt for Donald Trump
In October 2016, Hanks stated that he would not be “making any secret about” his intent to vote for Hillary Clinton in the upcoming presidential election, because he had “absolutely no faith in a self-serving gas bag like the other guy [Donald Trump] who’s running for president.”
During a December 2017 interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Hanks, who would be playing the role of famed newspaper editor Ben Bradlee in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming drama, The Post, was asked to describe what bothered him about how the press was being treated in contemporary America. In his response, he issued a thinly veiled swipe at President Trump:
“There used to be this concept, [as the later Senator] Daniel Moynihan used to say: ‘You’re entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts.’ Facts are irrefutable. Well, it turns out people are saying: ‘No, facts are not irrefutable. We can decide whatever facts that we want, that we would like.’ Right now, without a doubt, there are people in power trying to — if not quash or stop the right to publication, [then at least] denigrate it to the point [where] they are saying there is no truth to it whatsoever. And there are stories out there that are the truth, [in] organs of the Fourth Estate like The New York Times and The Washington Post.”
When asked if he would attend a showing of The Post at the TrumpWhite House if he were to be invited, Hanks replied:
“I don’t think I would. Because I think that at some point — look, I didn’t think things were going to be this way last November. I would not have been able to imagine that we would be living in a country where neo-Nazis are doing torchlight parades in Charlottesville [Va.] and jokes about Pocahontas are being made in front of the Navajo code talkers. And individually we have to decide when we take to the ramparts. You don’t take to the ramparts necessarily right away, but you do have to start weighing things. You may think: ‘You know what? I think now is the time.’ This is the moment where, in some ways, our personal choices are going to have to reflect our opinions. We have to start voting, actually, before the election. So, I would probably vote not to go.”
Supporting Michelle Obama’s “When We All Vote”
In 2018, Hanks served as a co-chair for Michelle Obama’s newly formed When We All Vote initiative, whose aim was to bolster turnout for Democrat voters in the upcoming midterm (2018) and presidential (2020) elections.
Supporting Joe Biden & Kamala Harris
Hanks was among many notable Hollywood entertainers to support Democrats during the party’s 2019 presidential primaries. He donated $1,400 to Joe Biden’s campaign in July of that year, while his wife, Rita Wilson, contributed $2,800 to then-candidate Kamala Harris.
On August 18, 2020, Hanks participated in a “virtual fundraiser” for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. Emphasizing how much was at stake in the upcoming election, the actor said:
“I’m willing to give a nod to divine providence here. There is such a confluence of issues, so many crises that are landing in one time, certainly the economic fallout that has come about because of a brand of fear and a response to a virus that has already killed close to 200,000 Americans, and many more around the world. We have this great reckoning that is going on as far as who we are as a people, about our diversity. That there is an election that’s going on here in 2020 is almost like, that’s when you got to give a nod of the head that something bigger might be at work right here, and there is a chance for a reckoning. Every election comes along, and you can always make the argument, ‘This is the most important election of our lives.’ This is the most important election in the history of America.”
On Inauguration Day in January 2021, Hanks hosted a concert in honor of President Biden. “This day is about witnessing the permanence of our American ideal,” the actor stated. In spite of the nation’s “deep divisions and a troubling rancor,” he added, “tonight we ponder the United States of America, the practice of our democracy, the foundations of our republic, the integrity of our Constitution, [and] the hopes and dreams we all share for a more perfect union.”
Amid President Biden’s decreasing approval ratings, Hanks provided narration for a January 2022 video to commemorate the administration’s one-year anniversary and to reinforce the idea that America was finally heading in the right direction after the tumultuous Trump years. Some excerpts:
President Biden appeared at the end of that January 2022 spot, telling viewers: “I’ve long said it’s never been a good bet to bet against America, and that’s more true today than ever. I’ve never been more optimistic about America’s future. There’s nothing beyond our capacity, if we do it together.”
Supporter of Mail-in Voting
In April 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic was first shifting into high gear, Hanks joined former First Lady Michelle Obama and the organization she had founded, When We All Vote, in calling for expanded mail-in-ballot voting – ostensibly to help people avoid crowded polling places where they might contract a coronavirus infection. “I want to vote no matter where I am,” said Hanks. “I have Diabetes type 2 [a co-morbidity that would make him especially vulnerable to the effects of COVID] and I still want to be able to vote.” The following month, Hanks’ wife, Rita Wilson, stated that “some people don’t feel comfortable going to a polling place, and we want to ensure that every American gets the right to vote, and if that’s by doing it mailing in, then we’ve got to make that happen.”
Contempt for People Who Opposed Masks to Combat COVID
In a June 2020 press conference, Hanks said “Shame on you,” to people who were opposed to wearing face masks as a means of protecting against the spread of coronavirus. “If you can’t wear a mask and wash your hands and social-distance, I’ve got no respect for you.”
In July 2020, television host Stephen Colbert asked Hanks, “[H]ow do you feel when you see people not wearing masks out there?” Hanks responded: “Uh, are they Americans? You know, I don’t get it…. It’s literally the least you can do… a mask and wash your hands, and try to stay 6 feet away from a person. Is this, is this impossible now? I think of George Washington’s troops at Valley Forge. If you asked them to wear a mask, they would love it because it would keep them a little bit warm. And they would have washed their hands if the snows were not freezing. They would have been happy to do that.”
Vis-à-vis those who claimed that they should not be forced to wear masks if they wished not to, Hanks told Colbert: “Honestly, if you drive a car, do you think it’s your constitutional right not to use your turn signals? You should use your turn signals, because otherwise you might run into somebody, somebody right run into you, right? You want to obey some aspect of the speed limit, right? I mean, you don’t want to go 120 miles an hour in a school zone, you slow down, right? You try not to hit buildings and pedestrians, you give it a shot, don’t you? Isn’t that the least you can do when you’re driving a car? I think the least you can do in the United States of America and around the world is wear a mask and wash your hands and keep your distance. Holy smokes!”
Opponent of Election-Integrity Measures
In March 2021, Hanks endorsed the “For The People Act” in a letter co-signed by Michelle Obama and other high-profile public figures and celebrities. If signed into law, this legislation would, as the Heritage Foundation explained:
Supporting the Name Change of MLB’s Cleveland Indians
In July 2021, Hanks was happy that Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians decided – due to increasing political and social pressure — to change their name to the Cleveland Guardians. The team announced its name change on July 23, by means of a video narrated by Hanks, who stated at one point in the presentation: “It has always been ‘Cleveland’ that’s the best part of our name.”
Asserting That a Straight Actor Should Not Be Permitted to Portray a Gay Character
In July 2022, Hanks told The New York Times Magazine that in today’s society, a straight actor could no longer portray a gay character as he himself had done when Philadelphia was released in 1993:
“[B]ut let’s address [the question] ‘could a straight man do what I did in Philadelphia now?’ No, and rightly so. The whole point of Philadelphia was, ‘don’t be afraid.’ One of the reasons people weren’t afraid of that movie is that I was playing a gay man. We’re beyond that now, and I don’t think people would accept the inauthenticity of a straight guy playing a gay guy. It’s not a crime, it’s not boo-hoo, that someone would say we are going to demand more of a movie in the modern realm of authenticity.”
Hanks’ Immense Wealth
As of April 2023, Hanks had an estimated net worth of $400 million.