Chet Hanks’ Most Controversial Moments

This article includes references to substance abuse and allegations of domestic violence.

For some, Chet Hanks is best known for being the son of Oscar-winning movie star Tom Hanks and his wife, actor and musician Rita Wilson. Others may know him from his own various acting work, having appeared in films including “Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull” and “Fantastic Four,” in addition to recurring roles in such TV series as “Empire,” “Shameless,” and “Your Honor.” Then there are those most familiar with Hanks due to his musical endeavors as a rapper, particularly the music of his earlier incarnation under the rap name Chet Haze. 

That being said, it’s fair to guess that far more people are familiar with Hanks for his continual brushes with controversy, thanks to his propensity for statements and behavior that have tended to spark headlines. It’s a reputation he hasn’t tried to dodge, and in fact has actually seemed to lean into — heck, even Hanks’ agency bio proclaims that he’s the “self-confessed black sheep of his family.” 

Given his relatively young age — Hanks turned 30 in 2020 — he’s nonetheless managed to become engulfed in an impressive array of scandals. Keep on reading to take a look back at some of Chet Hanks’ most controversial moments.

Chet Hanks' battle with addiction has been 'a long journey'

When Chet Hanks described himself as the family “black sheep,” he was likely referring to the issues with substance abuse he experienced in his younger years; he’s been sober since 2015 after a stint in rehab. At that time, the Los Angeles Times reported on some videos he’d posted on social media (which have since been taken down) in which he bluntly admitted to becoming addicted to cocaine and crack. “You know, at the end of the day, all that stupid s**t I was doing, that’s not who I am, that’s not who I want to be,” he said. “And it’s been a long journey for me discovering who I am because of all the pressures that I’ve dealt with in my life, you know, being the son of my dad and everything, and just trying to find where I fit in.”

In a 2015 interview with ET, he opened up about how the support of parents Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson helped him find his way toward sobriety. “They couldn’t be more supportive,” he said. “Every step of the way… They’ve always been there for me and I’m really lucky.”

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Chet Hanks' car accident meant legal trouble for his famous folks

In February 2015, prior to entering rehab, Chet Hanks was driving a car registered to dad Tom Hanks and mom Rita Wilson when he got into a fender-bender. According to TMZ, he rear-ended a vehicle driven by Terry Moogan, who subsequently sued Chet’s parents. 

In his suit, Moogan alleged that Hanks had been driving in a reckless manner and was “under the influence of drugs and or alcohol at the time.” Since the young man’s parents had allowed him to drive, Moogan believed it was they who should be held responsible for the injuries he allegedly suffered, supposedly “whiplash and a brain injury from hitting his head on the dashboard.” While Chet wasn’t charged with DUI in the incident, Moogan’s lawyers claimed that “Chet begged him not to call the police at the time.” In 2018, RadarOnline reported they reached “a conditional settlement” but the details were not made public.

Interestingly enough, Tom Hanks was far from the first celebrity that Moogan had been involved with. According to the Liverpool Echo, the Liverpool native was a career butler who had worked for such stars as Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Clint Eastwood, Joan Rivers and Oprah Winfrey. 

Chet Hanks once threatened to 'hurt' Howard Stern

Being mocked by Howard Stern is a rite of passage endured by pretty much every celebrity to land on the iconic radio broadcaster’s radar. When Chet Hanks became fodder for Stern’s comedy, however, the budding young rapper did not handle it well.

As People reported, Stern goofed on Hanks positioning himself as a hardcore gangsta rapper. “[Tom Hanks] must be so annoyed,” Stern told his listeners back in February 2011. “Where’d he grow up, Beverly Hills? What a f**kin’ d**k.” When Hanks’ name came up, unflatteringly, in another radio conversation a few years later, the rapper lashed out on social media, outright threatening Stern. 

According to RadarOnline, Hanks tweeted a message to Stern, alongside an emoji of a gun firing. “You know I will f**k you up hahaaaa #b***h,” he wrote. “Howie… Do you have any idea how badly I am going to assault you when I see you… You can’t run from me forever knock knees … Howie… Listen. One day, maybe tomorrow, maybe 10 years from now, I am going to see you in person, and I am going to hurt you… I hope you travel with security!!! PLEASE have me on the show.”

Chet Hanks' dad came up in a feud with Tekashi 6ix9ine

Tom Hanks has faced some fearsome foes in his films, from battling the Illuminati in “The Da Vinci Code” to taking on the Nixon administration in “The Post” to being taken hostage by Somali pirates in “Captain Phillips.” One thing he can also check off his bucket list is “come up in a rap beef,” something that inexplicably occurred thanks to son Chet Hanks’ 2020 feud with rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine.

In a series of posts on Instagram Story (which had been saved and posted on Twitter), Chet Hanks took some shots at Tekashi 6ix9ine, who was imprisoned on racketeering and gun charges but had managed to get his sentence reduced by testifying against some former gang members. “Don’t be fooled by social media. That dude is SCARED S**TLESS but has no choice but to laugh and make light of it cuz he knows he’s a marked man for the rest of his life either way,” wrote the younger Hanks, referring to his rival as a “rat.”

The rapper responded, reported the New York Post, by referencing Tom Hanks’ recent COVID-19 diagnosis. “Wishing his dad a speedy recovery,” Tekashi 6ix9ine responded in a comment.

Chet Hanks' Golden Globes moment wasn't exactly a hit

Chet Hanks was among the attendees at the 2020 Golden Globe Awards, where his father Tom Hanks was presented with that year’s Cecil B. DeMille Award from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. While hanging out on the red carpet with the rest of the Hanks family, Chet recorded a video for Instagram (since deleted, but saved for posterity by Metro) in which he speaks to the camera in Jamaican patois. “Big up the whole island massive, it’s your boy Chet coming straight from the Golden Globes,” he declared. 

Writer Brittny Pierre posted the video on Twitter, asking the question on the minds of anyone who watched it: “Why is Tom Hanks’ son Chet Hanks speaking patois?” She then tweeted a followup video, in which he uses the same accent while exiting a Smoothie King.

The Twitterverse didn’t know what to make of it. “I can’t describe how deeply my soul has been disturbed,” wrote one Twitter user. Another simply asked, “What in the hell is going on here?”

Conspiracy theorists prompted a social media break

Chet Hanks had long been active on social media when he decided to step away from Instagram for a while in the fall of 2020. As Pop Culture reported, he posted a lengthy message to explain why he was planning to press the pause button on his social media. 

He decided to step away, he explained, because “months of vile accusations from pro-Trump conspiracy theorists have been taking their toll on me mentally to see such disgusting lies written about my family from people who really don’t know reality from the internet.”

While Chet didn’t detail those “vile accusations,” it’s a safe bet they were coming from adherents of a certain bizarre conspiracy theory about Tom Hanks and a cabal. “It’s been making me hostile and paranoid,” he added in his post, “which oddly enough is probably exactly how they feel.” A few months prior, podcaster Travis View tweeted a video in which Chet jokingly addresses the conspiracy theorists.

After Biden's win, Chet Hanks raised eyebrows again

Chet Hanks eventually returned to social media, just in time for the November 2020 presidential election. That is also when he once again recorded himself speaking in a Jamaican accent and posted the video on Instagram (which then made the rounds via Twitter).

“BIG UP FIMI WHOL FAMILY SOON COM AT DI AWARDS NA SEEN CHUNE IN,” he wrote in the caption for the video, in which he started off discussing Donald Trump’s election loss in his own accent, and then switched over to Jamaican patois. 

Hanks’ video once again resulted in mockery and confusion from Twitter. “Chet Hanks, one of our great white Jamaicans,” joked one Twitter user, while another asked, “What is up with him?” Yet another dragged his father into the fray, citing his dad’s hit movie “Castaway” by quipping, “Tom Hanks must be wishing he never came back from that Island.”

The 'White Boy Summer' idea stirred up controversy

Given ongoing discussions about systemic racism in the U.S., most people would probably hold off on declaring that the summer of 2021 was going to be a “White Boy Summer.” Chet Hanks is not most people; that’s exactly what he did in an Instagram video he posted in March 2021. “I just got this feeling man… that this summer is, it’s about to be a White Boy Summer,” he said. “Take it how you want. I’m not talking about Trump, NASCAR-type white. I’m talking about, you know, me, [R&B singer] Jon B, [rapper/singer] Jack Harlow-type white boy summer.”

In a subsequent Instagram post, he clarified what “White Boy Summer” does not represent. “You know what’s not white boy summer?” said Hanks. “Having any ill will or prejudice toward anybody from a different background, race, walk of life than you, you know?… That’s not White Boy Summer, dude. That’s the s**t we gotta elevate and get rid of, straight up… Because the real vibes is having nothing but good vibes toward everybody…”

However, not everyone was buying that explanation. “Chet Hanks saying ‘white boy summer’ sounds like a racist dog whistle to me,” one Twitter user commented. 

And there was the branded merch that some deemed racist

Chet Hanks took his vision for White Boy Summer to the next level when he subsequently announced his plans to come out with his own line of “white boy summer” branded merchandise.

While many found the whole concept of White Boy Summer to be ill-conceived and questionable, Hanks’ merch managed to receive even more criticism, thanks to the font used on his t-shirts and sweatshirts — which, as The Guardian reported, was a “Gothic-style font that is close to one used by white nationalists.” That particular font, The Guardian noted, bore a marked similarity to to the Fraktur fonts, “which were used in Nazi Germany most prominently on the cover of Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ book.”

Not surprisingly, the unveiling of Hanks’ White Boy Summer merch generated a fair degree of controversy on social media. One Twitter user summed up the prevailing attitude by explaining that using that particular font made the logo look “aggressively racist.” 

Chet Hanks sued his ex-girlfriend for assault

When Chet Hanks and girlfriend Kiana Parker split up in January 2021, their parting was not exactly amicable. In a video obtained by TMZ a few months later, Hanks’ ex is seen arriving at his home. She approaches him, holding a pot, and then takes a swing at him just before the video goes black. When the video resumes, the camera is trained on Hanks, who has blood streaming down his face from an apparent wound on his forehead. 

According to a subsequent report in People, Hanks took his ex to court, suing her for “theft, assault, conversion, and battery.” In a statement to People, Marty Singer (the attorney representing Hanks) said the couple broke up after Hanks allegedly discovered she’d stolen money from him. “The day after Chet Hanks confronted Kiana Parker about stealing money from his credit card, while Ms. Parker was accompanied by a huge male carrying a gun, she viciously attacked Chet with a knife, which caused him to profusely bleed,” Singer declared. “It is all on video and the undisputed video tells the whole story. Her claims are completely false, fabricated and fictional.” According to TMZ, Parker denied Hanks’ accusations.

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

Chet Hanks' ex was granted a protective order against him

There are two sides to every story, the old saying goes, and that was definitely the case when it came to the altercation between Chet Hanks and ex Kiana Parker that led him to sue her for allegedly assaulting him. 

Parker, in fact, insisted that Hanks was the aggressor in the incident. As the Houston Chronicle reported, Parker went to court to seek a protective order against Hanks after she claimed there were a series of incidents that preceded their TMZ-documented blowup. One of these, she claimed in an affidavit, took place while they were in New Orleans as Hanks filmed the Showtime series “Your Honor.” During an argument, she alleged that Hanks became “aggressive and hostile” and then “threw a bottle at her and dragged her away from the door of their hotel room when she tried to leave,” according to the outlet. She also claimed he also broke her phone and “threatened to jump off a balcony if she left and called her a ‘ghetto Black b—.'”

A judge granted Parker a temporary protective order against him. She subsequently launched a lawsuit of her own, reported USA Today, suing him for $1 million, alleging he “mentally and physically and psychologically battered” her. In a statement obtained by People, attorney Marty Singer denied Parker’s accusations. 

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.

Chet Hanks tried to defend his use of a slur

In 2015, USA Today reported that Chet Hanks — who was then using the rap name Chet Haze — was hit by backlash when he used the N-word in an Instagram post. Rather than apologize, Hanks instead defended his use of the racial slur. “If I say the (N-word) I say it amongst people I love and who love me,” he wrote in the post (which was later taken down). “And I don’t accept society getting to decide what ANYBODY can or can’t say. That’s something we call FREE SPEECH.” At the end of the lengthy note, he tacked on a straightforward sign-off: “Either way, Ima keep living my life however the (expletive) I want. ALL LOVE.”

So how was Hanks’ declaration accepted in social media? Anyone who answered “not well” can step to the front of the class. “Chet Haze is the main example of white privilege taking Black culture for themselves,” one critic tweeted, while another declared, “His ignorance and blatant stupidity is mind boggling.”

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