Racially-Tinged Tom Hanks Video Targeted By Conservatives (Video)

Tom Hanks, $35 million
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Hanks' latest film, Larry Crowne, was a bona fide flop earning less that $100 million. But the actor still pulls in plenty of money from voicing Woody in Toy Story. The third film was the highest-grossing animated movie of all time. Hanks will next star opposite Sandra Bullock in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.

In the latest example of the right's war against Hollywood activists, the actor's appearance in a pro-Obama documentary is challenged.

Liberal, politically active celebrities beware: Online conservative activists are pouncing on every act of perceived hypocrisy. The latest target is Tom Hanks.

The actor narrates a recently released 17-minute documentary promoting the re-election of President Barack Obama, which has led to political ridicule from the right-leaning Daily Caller. The publication unearthed video from 2004 of an event that some critics online are saying was racially insensitive.

The video, below (along with the Obama documentary), features Hanks and Eagles rocker Glenn Frey at a fundraiser for the school their children attended, St. Matthew’s Parish School in Pacific Palisades, Calif. The pair appeared at the event with a third man, investment banker James Montgomery, who dressed in black face, a big Afro wig, leopard-print toga and animal-tooth armband.

“This is as close to diversity as we’ll get at St. Matthew’s,” Frey quipped.

Montgomery and the two celebrities auctioned off 5,000 shares of pre-IPO stock in a pharmaceutical company as well as a giant stuffed gorilla, with Hanks referred to as “Bill O’Reilly.” The stock, said Hanks, was a “dowry” for the gorilla.

Most of the trio’s jokes, ironically, were designed to paint such conservatives as Jerry Falwell as racially insensitive. Frey even joked that the school itself was so conservative that the costumed Montgomery almost couldn’t get in. “They stuck him in the parking lot,” Frey said. 

Liberal organizations have so far ignored the video, but the Congress of Racial Equality, a conservative group, has called for Obama to yank Hanks from the documentary, called The Road We’ve Traveled, which was made by An Inconvenient Truth director Davis Guggenheim.

CORE spokesman Niger Innis called the performance “an orchestrated, heinous and racist ‘Stepin Fetchit’ routine that Mr. Hanks was a part of,” according to the Daily Caller.

“I call upon President Obama, who has Tom Hanks doing 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."

Conservative bloggers have also pounced. "I don't care what your politics are, it's nauseatingly racist," writes John Nolte at Breitbart.com.

The incident marks the latest attempt to smear Hollywood liberals as hypocrites when they accuse conservatives of behaving inappropriately, especially in the wake of a campaign to punish Rush Limbaugh for calling student-activist Sandra Fluke a “slut” and “prostitute.”

Besides the Hanks video, other recent examples of the right striking back against Hollywood include:

Chris Rock, who attacked a camerawoman after he was asked to defend his statements that Tea Partiers were “insane” racists. The video, recorded in January at the Sundance Film Festival, was posted online last week.

Bill Maher, whose $1 million donation to a pro-Obama Super PAC is being criticized because he has called Republican women like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann “c**nt” and “tw*t.” Video of Maher, along with David Letterman, is also being used as a fundraising vehicle for a conservative women’s group.  

Email: paul.bond@thr.com