Tom Hanks's son Chet laughs at cultural appropriation claims years after defending his use of the N-word

Kamilah Newton

Tom Hanks’s son seems unmoved by the accusations of cultural appropriation, releasing a second video of him speaking Caribbean patois following the initial video on the red carpet at Sunday’s Golden Globes.

Chet Hanks, 29, accompanied his parents and three siblings to the Hollywood awards ceremony on Sunday night where he posted a video to his Instagram from the red carpet speaking what appeared to be Jamaican patois, an English-based creole language with West African influences. The post has garnered almost 300,000 likes.

In the video he says, “Big up, big up the whole island massive, it’s your boy Chet, coming straight from the Golden Globes, you know what I’m sayin’.”

Social media responses to the video have ranged from genuine confusion to disdain. One user tweeted, “why is Tom Hanks’ son Chet Hanks speaking patois?” to which another user replied, “Sometimes the apple falls off the tree and rolls down a hill and into a ravine.” However, his mother, actress Rita Wilson, said it might've been “the best laugh of the night.”

In response to the debacle, he captioned a screenshot of a news report about his viral video: “Average citizens: damn this is scary I can’t believe we’re on the verge of WW3 let me check the news smh [shaking my head], then “CNN:” followed by laughing emojis.

After the post — which seemed to both minimize his offense and highlight the attention it’s gotten — Chet posted a second video of him speaking patois as he left a juice bar on Monday morning. In this video, he says, “Me wake up this morning and me see the thing turn up. The internet gone mad!”

Many users are still not amused. Amongst the Twitter responses, one user seems to facetiously refer him to federal prison, another user likens his actions to a minstrel show and another user simply posted a GIF of Monica from Friends wearing dreadlocks writing: “same mood.”

Other users took this opportunity to remind us that this is not the first time Chet has landed himself in hot water.

In 2015, the self-proclaimed rapper found himself under similar criticisms after using the N-word repeatedly in his music and on social media. At the time, he defended himself via a now-deleted Instagram video saying, “Who is to say only black people can use it?” He added, “Hip-hop isn’t about race. It’s about the culture you identify with.”

Chet, who seemingly identifies as black-adjacent, plays a rapper on Fox’s Empire and has also fathered a black daughter. But as writer Chanté Griffin noted in the Root,proximity to blackness doesn’t grant permission to mimic it.

In 2018, he dialed back his actions while addressing the issue on Van Lathan’s “Red Pill” podcast — ultimately blaming drugs for his flawed logic. “Number one, I was on a lot of drugs... I wanted to be, like, down, you know what I mean? I just felt like I wasn’t enough. Low-key, like subconsciously, looking back on it now I realize I was trolling,” he said. “I thought, like, crazy antics and just wilding the f*** out and doing some crazy s*** was going to like spark my career.”

Chet did not offer an apology, but added that he “did the ultimate cornball thing. And that s*** wasn’t cool.”

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