4 False Rumors About Tom Hanks That Went Viral Recently

He's not playing MLK in an upcoming Netflix movie, and a photo supposedly showing him in a pro-Trump shirt is fake.

Published Aug 18, 2023

 ( Getty Images)
Image Via Getty Images

Tom Hanks is bait for corners of the internet spreading misinformation. For years, he's been the target of false or baseless rumors, ranging from pedophilia-related conspiracy theories to Forrest Gump-related claims. Snopes keeps a running list of all fact checks about Hanks on its site.

Summer 2023 continued that trend. From a doctored photograph supposedly showing Hanks in a T-shirt supporting former U.S. President Donald Trump to an out-of-context clip of him on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!," these four rumors spread in July and August.

— Snopes staff contributed to this report.

This is a fake pic of Hanks in a "Keep America Trumpless" T-shirt.

Digitally adding phrases to the T-shirts of famous people in photographs is a common misinformation tactic. The real photograph of Hanks showed him walking around Sydney, Australia, in a plain T-shirt.

No, this viral video doesn't show Hanks calling his daughter a "sexy baby."

For years, social media posts have claimed that Hanks called a child at a beauty pageant a "sexy baby." The clip in question was a parody of reality show "Toddlers & Tiaras" on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" in 2011.

This is a real photograph of Oprah Winfrey, Gayle King, and Hanks — but that fact doesn't prove they're part of a sex-trafficking cult.

While it's not clear if Hanks is actually sporting a black eye in this photograph, conspiracy theorists believe he is, and that means he's part of a so-called "Black Eye Club." As the theory goes, politicians and celebrities are getting black eyes during strange initiation rituals to become members of the illuminati or other secret groups.

There's no such thing as a Netflix movie starring Tom Hanks as MLK.

This viral image supposedly showing Hanks embodying the Black civil rights leader was seemingly generated by artificial intelligence (AI) software. Had this news about the alleged movie directed by Steven Spielberg been real, there would have been outrage over Hanks in blackface.

Jessica Lee is Snopes' Senior Assignments Editor with expertise in investigative storytelling, media literacy advocacy and digital audience engagement.

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