Tom Hanks’ Son Shocked Neo-Nazis Love “White Boy Summer” Meme

Chet Hanks’ “White Boy Summer,” an impulsive and ill-conceived branding venture by Tom Hanks’ son Chet, has taken a dark turn. Despite the seemingly light-hearted intention, the slogan has gained popularity among Neo-Nazi groups. It’s hard to imagine, but a T-shirt with “White Boy Summer” in old English font has become a hit with those who advocate for white supremacy year-round. This growing prominence has caught the attention of The New York Times, likely leading to some stern discussions between Chet and his father, Tom Hanks.

Following the Times’ report, Chet hastily denounced the appropriation of his “White Boy Summer” movement. Although intended as a playful and inclusive celebration of “fly white boys who love beautiful queens of any race,” the term has been twisted into a racist dog whistle by white supremacists. Pinned to the top of his Instagram profile is a statement from Chet condemning the misuse of his slogan for any hateful purposes.

“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,” wrote the White Boy Summer founder. “I hope that we all can spread love to each other and treat each other with kindness and dignity.”

This public denouncement appears to be damage control, likely urged by Tom Hanks after the Times published an article titled “How Tom Hanks’s Son Spawned A Hateful Meme Online.” It’s no surprise that America’s dad would be displeased to see the slogan “White Boy Summer” waved at events by groups like Turning Point USA. Tom Hanks now faces the embarrassment of his son’s creation being listed on the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism website, linked with messages from The Proud Boys about the murder of George Floyd and adopted by far-right groups in Canada, the U.K., and Germany’s Die Heimat.

Chet Hanks conceived “White Boy Summer” a few years ago, feeling that summer 2021 was destined to be a White Boy Summer. He clarified that it was not about “Trump, NASCAR-type white” but a tribute to chill white guys like Jon B., Jack Harlow, and himself. Despite this, he left the interpretation open-ended, which some racist participants took as a green light for their hateful agendas.

Like many things associated with Chet Hanks, “White Boy Summer” quickly became a meme. He capitalized on this by launching a merchandise line and a music video to promote the slogan, along with less prominent “Black Queen Summer” apparel. The video concludes with Hanks displaying the back of his WBS shirt, which reads “Stop Hate.” However, it appears that this message has been overshadowed by the problematic adoption of the phrase.

While Hanks intended “White Boy Summer” to be a harmless, inclusive celebration, its hijacking by extremist groups highlights the risks of poorly thought-out branding in today’s hyperconnected world. The term’s transformation into a symbol of hate serves as a stark reminder of the power of words and the importance of clarity in public messaging.

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