Hollywood: Cancel Culture Comes for Tom Hanks

Nicole Akers

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Tom HanksTom Hanks: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tom_Hanks_2014.jpg, royalty-free

Hollywood, CA--Tom Hanks is likely shaking his head from his Hollywood home, wondering how his efforts to do good can be so badly misinterpreted. Tom Hanks goes synonymously with an all-American good guy and household name. He’s one of my personal favorite movie guys . When you see his name in the headlines, you can safely assume that good news will follow.

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Hanks has acted in movies that are box office hits because we are drawn into strong emotional stories, as in Saving Private Ryan. You may also know him from Cast Away, Big, Sully, Polar Express, Forrest Gump, or numerous other films. Additionally, Hanks has received a Hollywood star for his efforts.

And he’s an honoree of the 37th Annual Kennedy Center Honors.

Both his on-screen and in-person characters line up with we know about him as a good guy.

Fans around the world ached with Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson when they announced they had both tested positive for having Coronavirus in April of 2020 and were hospitalized in Australia for a time before they were well enough to return to Hollywood.

No wonder we're a little shocked when Tom Hanks and cancel come together in the headlines. Even NPR’s Eric Deggans praised Hanks, referring to him as “wise” and “wonderful.” Deggans went on to say:

“First I must note how much I love Tom Hanks as a performer, Hollywood citizen and all-around stand-up guy.” And he went on, in a measured way, to urge that Hanks should now go further: “After many years of speaking out about race and media in America, I know the toughest thing for some white Americans — especially those who consider themselves advocates against racism — is to admit how they were personally and specifically connected to the elevation of white culture over other cultures.”

The crux of the matter stems from Hanks’ guest essay for The NY Times, calling for more truth and exploration of the Tulsa Race Massacre.

Deggans doesn’t believe Hanks went far enough in his statements. It’s not enough to speak out against the matter. Being non-racist isn’t enough. Deggans writes he wants Hanks to be anti-racist in a piece titled: “Tom Hanks Is a Non-Racist. It’s Time for Him To Be Anti-Racist.”

Here’s what Hanks said in the op-ed piece:

“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.”

And Hanks included some of his own projects as examples of not doing a good job of accurately portraying historical events.

It seems no good deed goes unpunished in cancel culture.

America’s Newsroom anchors, Bill Hemmer and Dana Perino, offer a teaser of “Cancel Culture Comes For Tom Hanks,” and feature columnist Joe Concha with the rebuttal:

“He deserves all the criticism he gets,” Concha exclaimed. “And here’s the thing, Bill. NPR, Deggans, and perpetual protesters — no matter what Tom Hanks does, it will never be enough!”

The anchors hope Tom Hanks will swing back but surmise he has too much character to offer a response. If he’s the kind of person we think he is, likely he’ll stay silent on this issue while he continues to speak out against injustices.

Over the years, Hanks has supported numerous charitable causes, including:

  • American Foundation for AIDS Research
  • UNICEF
  • Parkinson Society Maritime Region
  • Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes
  • Women’s Cancer Research Fund

Tom Hanks is a person who does good work, but one NPR spokesperson says it’s not enough to speak out for or against a cause, but you must now be “anti” any bad thing.

Do you agree or has cancel culture gone too far?

Hanks is a celebrity, so you probably think that this kind of attack is only for famous people and not the average Joe or Jane. Please think again. Cancel culture isn't just for Hollywood stars. This happens on social media frequently. Check #cancelculture on your favorite social platforms to see how often it has been used.

Why Should You Care?

You would care if the mob mentality was after you.

How can a guy as good as Tom Hanks become the pointed attack of cancel culture?

It’s a question we should all be considering. Because, if Tom Hanks can be attacked for not doing enough good, anyone can be attacked no matter how virtuous your efforts may be. Your efforts to do good can be called out for not being enough by anyone at any time.

It’s the culture we live in today that allows good people to come under attack for no good reason other than to start a fight. I’m not sure I want my kids growing up in this cancel world, but I’m also not sure there’s much that can be done about it either.

Back to Hanks’ guest piece on The NY Times. He says:

“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.”

Then he called for our schools to teach the truth about the Tulsa Massacre and other historical events.

Here’s the cold hard truth. No one is safe from this kind of hate. Cancel culture is a culture of unrest and it keeps growing when it’s the culture itself that should be canceled.

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Professional freelance writer | Happy Mom of 2 bringing you amazing tips on parenting, travel, & lifestyle with a touch of humor & sarcasm | Dog Mom | Bestselling author.

Austin, TX
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