Blackface makeup was a theatrical device, largely abandoned after the advent of the U.S. civil rights movement, involving a white actor creating a caricature of an African-American complete with racist stereotypes. In the early part of the 20th century, traveling minstrel shows typically featured white actors in bigoted portrayals of blacks as stupid, lazy and dishonest.
“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.”
The footage was provided to The Daily Caller by an observer who filmed the auction. She said Hanks’ “sharp-elbowed partisanship” prompted her to have the tape digitized and share it with TheDC.
“Tom would be the first to scream ‘racist’ if a conservative put their arm around a ‘Wall Street Banker’ in blackface while their co-emcee made racists remarks,” she said. “He’s a hypocrite.”
Hanks and Frey are not the first modern celebrities to appear in a performance that included a blackface-makeup actor. In 1993 “Cheers” actor Ted Danson was universally criticized for appearing in blackface at a celebrity roast held in honor of his then-girlfriend Whoopi Goldberg.
Several emails and phone messages seeking comment from Montgomery were not returned.
In a statement to The Daily Caller, St. Matthew’s Parish School development director Janet McKillop would only say that “it is St. Matthew’s Parish School’s policy not to comment on any press inquiries regarding fundraisers or other school events.”
Publicists for Hanks and Frey also did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
But in 2010, Hanks spoke to TheDC’s Nick Ballasy — then of CNS News — about racism in America. “I’d like to think that … ignorance is being replaced by a certain amount of enlightenment and racism is going to be replaced eventually by an acceptance,” Hanks said. “It’s just taking an awfully long time.”
In addition to a short video excerpt, TheDC is making available the entire 10-minute video segment it received.