Eight years later, Hanks condemns ‘blackface’ skit

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
Font Size:

In a statement to The Daily Caller, Tom Hanks denounced the blackface skit in which he appeared in 2004.

On Tuesday morning TheDC published video of the charity event, in which Hanks and “The Eagles” musician Glenn Frey bantered with a white man in blackface, an Afro wig and a leopard-print toga.

“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,” Hanks’ said in a statement provided by his New York City publicist.

“What is usually a night of food and drink for a good cause was, regrettably, marred by an appalling few moments,” said Hanks, who is a prominent supporter of President Barack Obama.

The video was sent to the TheDC after Hanks volunteered his time and voice to narrate a controversial and error-studded campaign documentary for President Barack Obama, “The Road We’ve Traveled.”

Since TheDC published the 2004 footage this morning, numerous Democratic organizations have not responded to requests for comment. (RELATED: See the original video from the event)

TheDC received no response from the White House, the Democratic National Committee, Barack Obama’s campaign headquarters, or the Obama-linked super PAC Priorities USA, which will likely use the documentary for fundraising.

Congress of Racial Equality spokesman Niger Innis slammed the skit as “an orchestrated, heinous, and racist ‘Stepin Fetchit’ routine.”

“I call upon President Obama, who has Tom Hanks doing the narration to his campaign video, to cease, to remove Mr. Hanks’ voice-over from his video, and end any association or affiliation with Mr. Hanks,” Innis said Monday in an interview with The Daily Caller.

Hanks’ career is likely to remain undamaged by the blackface video, partly because he seemed surprised by the appearance of the blackface-wearing donor, and the stuffed gorilla he was carrying, while he co-emceed a fundraiser at his children’s Episcopal school near L.A.

Other Democrat-friendly media personalities have escaped criticism from Democrats and their media colleagues.

Tina Fey’s show “30 Rock,” for example, included a blackface character in its 2010 Christmas special. Fey however, is popular among liberals for her portrayal of Gov. Sarah Palin as empty-headed during the 2008 election season.

Actor Ted Danson, however, was scorched in 1993 by his peers for his appearance in blackface.

During the 2004 event depicted in TheDC’s video, Hanks tried to redirect the controversy by suggesting that the blackfaced donor was Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly, who is disliked by many progressives.

“Ladies and gentlemen, a celebrity in our midst!” Hanks exclaimed. “Who would have thought that Bill O’Reilly would join us?”

Hanks and Frey made other jokes skewering conservatives. “This school is so conservative,” Frey said at one point, “that Jamie Montgomery [the blackface-wearing parent] was almost not allowed in.”


[dcvideo videoid=”24779126″ name=”ndnPlayer_24779126″ type=”ndn” /]

Follow Neil on Twitter

Tags : tom hanks
Neil Munro