There’s a long history of extremists and wingnuts targeting politicians for violence. So, the fact that David DePape—a San Francisco carpenter and deep-seated QAnon junkie—allegedly broke into the Pelosi household and bludgeoned Paul Pelosi half to death can be understood within a broader context of horrific domestic terrorism. (“I’m sick of the insane fucking level of lies coming out of Washington, D.C.,” he reportedly said at the scene of the crime. “I’m not going to stand here and do nothing, even if it costs me my life.” It’s all standard New World Order stuff.) What’s less common is for that general sense of insurgent conspiratorial thinking to name the star of Joe Versus the Volcano as one of its archenemies. And yet, in a preliminary hearing of the assault, we learned that DePape had exactly him in mind.
I’m talking, of course, about Tom Hanks. As in, Woody from Toy Story, or Forrest Gump, or David S. Pumpkins—all played by the squeaky-clean guy who’s held on to his status as the most beloved man in Hollywood for over three decades. QAnon devotees have maintained a whole constellation of strange occultist precepts (like, for instance, that John F. Kennedy Jr. is both still alive and a Trump supporter), but nothing rivals the idea that Hanks is a chief operative within the eldritch secret society of Satanic liberals plunging the world to its ultimate doom. And if good-boy Hanks isn’t safe from this in a post-MAGA America, none of us are.
It’s hard to know exactly why Hanks became an obsession for Unhinged America, but most experts point to Isaac Kappy, an actor who booked a couple of small roles in the early 2010s, and then became a minor celebrity in Q-adjacent communities when he appeared on Alex Jones’ radio show to accuse several Hollywood stars of Pizzagate-style sex trafficking. Hanks was one of the people Kappy named—without any evidence, of course—and the troubled actor would later become part of the greater QAnon hagiography when he died in 2019 after falling off a bridge in Arizona. (Kappy left what later appeared to be a suicide note on his Instagram account, where he apologized to Trump, God, and QAnon.) Like so many other tragedies (Seth Rich, Sandy Hook, and so on), the radicalized Q lifers had no trouble connecting Kappy’s untimely death to a broader campaign of ritualistic slaughter engineered by child-eating Democrats. Within moments, the game was on.
As SFGate reported in February, Hanks has since found himself at the forefront of practically every single Q-flecked fixation in the years since Kappy’s passing. He’s been accused of flying on Jeffrey Epstein’s infamous private plane. (No evidence of that exists.) And his early COVID diagnosis—which coincided with the first major surge of the virus in the U.S.—was skewed as some sort of false flag operation in which Hanks was working with the deep state to keep us docile and sheltering in place; shades of early “plandemic” thinking. QAnon conspiracy theories tend to evolve quickly, and before long, psycho-MAGA podcasters were analyzing Hanks’ haircut during his lockdown-era stint hosting Saturday Night Live and concluding that he was broadcasting from prison. Real Raw News—an entirely reputable publication, I’m sure—went a step further. In a 2021 story that’s received over 500,000 views, they report, simply and plainly, that Hanks has been executed by the U.S. military. (One top comment reads: “Any word on his wife?” Someone responds: “I hear she’s dead too.”)
Hanks hasn’t commented on any of this, and frankly, he probably shouldn’t. (Neither has Rita Wilson, or Colin Hanks, for that matter.) His other son, Chet—who has a tattoo of the Illuminati Eye of Providence right below his Adam’s apple—has been far less shy. On an episode of Logan Paul’s podcast, Chet recalled seeing a deluge of beguiling QAnon comments on his Instagram. Naturally, he decided to have some fun. “I made a video that was like, ‘Hey guys, I’ve been getting a lot of comments from conspiracy theorists, and I just wanted to come out here, clear it up, and say that it’s all true,’ ” he said. “I’m late to my human sacrifice right now. I’ll hit you guys back after we sacrifice this child.”
But Chet also possesses a fairly erudite take on why the Hankses have found themselves on reactionary hit lists. His dad is extremely famous—famous enough to make his son famous by proxy—and has established his family as, perhaps, the face of a certain upper-middle-class strata of suburban Democrats. Conservatives would’ve hated Hanks regardless of any eccentric sedition fantasies, but as the American political environment grew horribly confused after 2016, it was easy to elevate him as a head of the hydra.
“It’s the connection they’re trying to make between wealthy liberals and the government,” continued Chet. “If you’re a celebrity on that level, it’s not uncommon for them to brush shoulders with politicians. You get invited to the White House.” He also disclosed that he, too, has gone down the rabbit hole a few times in his life, but has put those dalliances behind him: “If you stare into the abyss long enough it starts to stare back at you.”
The irony with all this is that QAnon’s baseline vector of radicalization—that the world is controlled by a class of ruthless billionaires who are slowly killing the earth—is fundamentally sound. Unfortunately, they’ve just filtered all of their well-earned angst in the exact wrong direction; identifying the rot in the fantasy of demonic D.C. pizza joints rather than, you know, the health care cartel or the oil lobby. Within that context, I’d posit that Hanks may also be barreling toward some sort of market correction. Not in the sense that the bizarre conspiracy theories about him will be proven true—god, no. But I do wonder if the culture is ever going to endure a genuine, full-throated Hanks backlash—as in, something concocted and deployed within mainstream Americana, rather than mildewed QAnon watering holes—like what happened to Taylor Swift, LeBron James, or hell, Tom Cruise. Is he really going to live and die as the nicest man in Hollywood? More than that, who would ever trust someone who is the consensus “nicest man in Hollywood?” Can he truly keep getting away with it forever?
I’m not so sure! In fact, I’d argue that there are already signs of unsustainability within the overarching Hanks brand. His political posture—a Hollywood center-left gala creature—is extremely out of style with both Joe Rogan–esque cranks and fully enthralled teenaged communists, the latter of which are growing up in a world that is not completely tiled with instant classic Hanks projects. (I’m sorry, if you’re growing up with Elvis rather than Apollo 13, you’re going to have a different relationship with the man.) It has been a long time since I’ve done a full audit of his filmography, but I’m sure there’s plenty of grist available for a strained, bad-faith cancellation. It’s easy to imagine what a 30-tweet thread about Hanks’ “problematic behavior” might look like, though it’s almost certain to be as milquetoast as the man himself. Perhaps it’d be focused on private jet usage, or the amount of water it takes to keep his lawn green. Perhaps it would question whether Splash is mermaid abuse, or if Cast Away is cultural appropriation. I just know his only scandal can’t be shouting at some fans after they crowded him and caused his wife to trip, but I’ll leave that up to the 20-year-olds in our mentions to decide.
I’m just saying, don’t be surprised if a Hanks downfall looms on the horizon. There is no way he’s the only rich, powerful white guy above the age of 60 to escape celebrity totally unscathed. Once again, QAnon will be right for all the wrong reasons. Let’s just hope we get that full-length David S. Pumpkins movie before it falls apart.