Tom Hanks was not accused of sexual harassment by a co-worker, but many people who stumbled across a strangely written story may have been tricked into thinking that.
The beloved actor has a reputation as one of the “good guys” in Hollywood, so much so that many people commented during the recent wave of sexual abuse allegations in the industry that the Big actor would be the last person they suspect of acting in that way.
But that is the exact allegation that one radio program hinted at in a story that was both misunderstood and viral. The report came from the Buzz Adams Morning Show, a radio program on KLAQ, and was worded to sound as if Tom Hanks had actually been accused of sexual harassment. The report introduced readers to game on the morning show where the hosts pick someone they never think would be accused of sexual harassment and have to get a tattoo of that person if they ever ended up being accused of it.
The page then linked to a video claiming that Tom Hanks had indeed been accused of sexual harassment — by Wilson, the volleyball that was his co-star for the majority of the movie Castaway. Though the video was clearly a hoax — and an obvious one — it still caused a bit of a stir online among the large portion of people who read the headline without actually reading the article.
The story even showed up on the front page of Reddit, where it was featured on the “Saved You A Click” subreddit that boils down clickbait stories to their true nature.
Ironically, just one day after the radio show published the (obvious) Tom Hanks sexual harassment hoax, the actor himself spoke out against the rampant sexual abuse in the movie industry. The actor said he was not surprised to see this darker side of the industry, where some people can get carried away with the power they possess.
“There’s a lot of reasons people do this for a living. Making a movie is a life experience that can create an awful lot of joy,” he said (via Time magazine). “You can meet the person you fall in love with, you can laugh your heads off. That’s the good stuff. The bad stuff can happen on a movie as well. There are some people who go into this business because they get off on having power. And the times they feel the most powerful, which is why they went into the business, are when they are hitting on somebody who’s underneath them, [and] I don’t necessarily mean completely sexually. There are predators absolutely everywhere.”
But if you happen to come across a story accusing Tom Hanks of sexual harassment, it might be good to actually open it up and read the contents. You might have a laugh.