Tom Hanks, who just provided a stirring narrative for President Obama’s re-election video, showed a different side of his character at a tony private school attended by his children. He mocked racial diversity with a man wearing blackface makeup.
Hanks, who has been Hollywood’s liberal conscience, wasn’t quite so politically correct way back in 2004 during a function at St. Matthew’s Parish School, in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
A video of the incident surfaced in The Daily Caller, a right wing Web site founded by conservative journalist Tucker Carlson and Neil Patel, former chief policy adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney.
Hanks is shown joking with a white man with a blackened face, bushy Afro wig and animal print costume. He’s carrying a large stuffed gorilla in what amounts to a derisive racial stereotype.
The man has been identified as investment banker James Montgomery, CEO of Montgomery & Co.
Hanks tried to put the best face (no pun intended, well maybe) on the incident. He claimed he was “blindsided” by the appearance of the fellow parent. He called the caricature “hidiously offensive.”
At the time, however, Hanks went along with the joke. “A celebrity in our midst,” he says. “Who would have thought Bill O’Reilly would join us?” He also added: “This is as close to diversity as we’ll get at St. Matthew’s.”
Hanks issued a statement to gossip site TheWrap: “In 2004, I was blindsided when one of the parents got up on the stage in a costume that was hideously offensive then and is hideously offensive now. What is usually a night of food and drink for a good cause was, regrettably, marred by an appalling few moments.”
Right-wingers in Congress are trying to leverage the video to force President Obama to disassociate himself from Hanks, who has been considered the conscience of America, ever since his stirring portrayal in the movie “Saving Private Ryan.”
The woman who filmed the event called Hanks a “hypocrite.”