Chet Hanks Speaks Out After Accidentally Spawning White Supremacist Meme

Rodin Eckenroth/FilmMagic
Rodin Eckenroth/FilmMagic

It’s only Wednesday, but Tom Hanks’ son Chet Hanks has already had quite a week in the press.

Just after revealing on a podcast that his love for cocaine was so extreme that even “cokeheads” told him to “chill,” the Hollywood star’s son is now having to clarify what he meant by “white boy summer” in a series of 2021 social media posts and subsequent song and rap music video, now that the phrase has been co-opted by white supremacist groups.

The questionable phrase was a play on words from rapper Megan Thee Stallion’s “Hot Girl Summer” song from 2019.

Hanks clarified his stance on Instagram this week, following a New York Times story about how racial hate groups had turned the phrase into a meme. “White boy summer was created to be fun, playful, and a celebration of fly white boys who love beautiful queens of every race,” Hanks wrote in the post on Wednesday. “Anything else that it has been twisted into to support any kind of hate or bigotry against any group of people is deplorable and I condemn it.”

This isn’t the first time Hanks has had to clarify the phrase, as it gained new meaning within racial hate factions. He took to Instagram in March of 2021 to explain that “white boy summer” was meant as an embrace of Black culture. “I’m not talking about, like, Trump, NASCAR-type white” he said in the post, and added that he was likening himself to white music artists who embrace predominantly Black genres like Jon B. or Jack Harlow.

But the phrase continued to gain traction in a different way. According to a report from the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism via NYT, the phrase has been circulated thousands of times on the far-right messaging app Telegram, which is often used to spread white supremacist ideologies.

Even though Hanks has tried yet again to retrieve the questionable phrase he put out into the ethos, it’s hard to say whether his efforts will redeem him in the eyes of many who still remember the 2021 accusations of physical and verbal abuse made by his former girlfriend, who alleged that he called her a “Black bitch”—or his (now deleted) anti-vax rants on social media, as his parents Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson were both hospitalized with the illness.

“It’s the motherfucking flu,” he said in a social media post at the time, “Get over it. OK? If you’re sick, stay inside. Why are we working around y’all? If you’re in danger, stay your ass inside. I’m tired of wearing a motherfucking mask.”

And yet, when it comes to distancing himself from “hate or bigotry,” in the “white boy summer” debacle, he ended his newest post with these words: “I hope that we all can spread love to each other and treat each other with kindness and dignity.”

Yes, Chet—let us hope.

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