Tom Hanks’ son invented a white supremacist meme – but says it was an accident

Actor Tom Hanks’ son has defended himself after accidentally creating a meme that has now been co-opted by white supremacists.

Chet Hanks first coined the ‘White Boy Summer’ meme in 2021 after the release of Megan Thee Stallion’s song Hot Girl Summer, which became the inspiration for a number of online trends like ‘Christian Girl Autumn’.

Hanks created a satirical version of the song, titled “White Boy Summer”, which then went viral online.

The ‘White Boy Summer’ meme went on to become very popular, and has been used by a number of people online both earnestly and in a tongue-in-cheek way.

However, the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism recently released a report which revealed that the phrase has been co-opted by white supremacist hate groups.

It said: “White supremacists and neo-Nazis have been calling for the destruction of Pride flags, killing ‘[N-words]’ and communists’, and the creation of militias all under the slogan ‘White Boy Summer’.”

It also found that the Proud Boys and White Lives Matter, both prominent white supremacist groups that have had ties to multiple violent protests against people of colour and LGBTQ+ people in the U.S in recent years, also used Hanks’ phrase regularly.

On Wednesday, Hanks defended the phrase and condemned the fact it is being used to spread “hate or bigotry”.

“White boy summer was created to be fun, playful, and a celebration of fly white boys who love beautiful queens of every race. Anything else that it has been twisted into to support any kind of hate or bigotry against any group of people is deplorable and I condemn it. I hope that we can all spread love to each other and treat each other with kindness and dignity,” Hanks wrote on Instagram.

In 2021, when Hanks first created the phrase, he said it came from a “feeling” he’d had that the summer was “about to be a white boy summer”.

“Take it how you want, I’m not talking about Trump, Nascar-type white. I’m talking about me, [rappers] Jon B. Jack Harlow-type white boys, you know what I mean,” he said.

Despite this, many have taken its meaning out of context and changed it for their own purposes – namely, white supremacy.

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