Like the Media, Tom Hanks's School Refuses Comment on 'Blackface' Incident
Imagine for a moment that last week a video had been uncovered of conservative actor Jon Voight appearing at a private school fundraiser with a man in black-face wearing a puffy afro wig and a caveman costume. Furthermore, imagine that days prior Voight had been featured as the narrator of a campaign film for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Liberal media would have seen to it that the story dominated headlines and received wall-to-wall TV coverage. MSNBC would have dispatched squadrons of “journalists” to investigate the racial diversity of the elite private school in question; nightly news would have demanded that the Romney campaign “condemn” Voight for his racial insensitivity; and race hustlers like Rev. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton would have parachuted in to the scene of the crime and demanded to know what steps had since been taken by the school and its administrators to ensure that such ugly racial incidents cease to occur.
Of course, no such incident involving Voight and the Romney campaign occurred, but one did involving liberal actor and Obama campaign video narrator Tom Hanks.
And what has been the mainstream media’s response thus far?
While this may hardly come as a surprise to most conservatives, the Hanks episode, first reported by the Daily Caller, has all the racial trappings that typically excite liberal media.
For starters, Hanks has admitted that his involvement in the 2004 racially-charged blackface routine with musician Glenn Frey at their children’s elite private school, St. Matthew’s Parish School in Pacific Palisades, California, was “appalling”:
For many years I emceed the annual fundraising auction for my kids’ school. In 2004, I was blindsided when one of the parents got up on the stage in a costume that was hideously offensive then and is hideously offensive now. What is usually a night of food and drink for a good cause was, regrettably, marred by an appalling few moments.
The man wearing blackface, a puffy afro wig, and a caveman outfit, investment banker James Montgomery, CEO of Montgomery & Co. and chairman of the board at Westmark School in Encino, California, has also expressed regret:
Each of us does and says things at one point or another in our lives we regret…. While I can understand that some people may have read something other than what was intended into my wearing that costume to a costume party, as anyone who knows me would attest, that is not consistent with my beliefs nor is it with who I am.
Second, the episode has sparked calls for heads to roll over the racist incident, a development that usually interests liberal media seeking racial justice on behalf of marginalized voices. Indeed, according to KTLA Los Angeles, efforts are now underway to remove Mr. Montgomery from his post at Westmark School:
To see a leader in our community portraying a racial stereotype at a school event left me speechless.
According to the teacher, Westmark educates children with learning disabilities.
It's a caricature of a minority group. Our students at Westmark are a marginalized group. They've struggled in school. Many of them have been made fun of or bullied or called out for being different, and he's the chairman of our board and he's doing that.
According to the school's headmaster, Muir Meredith, a large group of senior students want Montgomery to step down, as do a handful of teachers.
Other teachers and parents are upset and confused.
Meredith says Montgomery has done amazing things for Westminster, where his daughter is a junior.
He has brought in millions of dollars to the school, so many have mixed feelings about what should happen.
Still, despite the local uproar, mainstream media continue to ignore the story.
Third, the private school where Hanks and Eagles musician Glenn Frey’s children attended, St. Matthews Parish School, appears to be precisely the kind of lily-white institution that liberals rail against — and it is presently unclear what, if any, steps have been taken by St. Matthew’s to ensure that similar racist incidents are not repeated.
Indeed, when Breitbart News reached out to learn more about the school’s efforts at achieving racial inclusion and diversity, the Head of School Mr. Stuart Work sent the following curt reply:
The story in the Daily Caller involved school parents. Our policy is not to talk to the media about our parents, current or past.
All the best,
Head of School
St. Matthew's Parish School
The St. Matthew’s Parish School website lists tuition for seventh and eighth grade students at $27,000.00 a year, a figure far outside the reach of most Americans. The site also features an array of photographs of students, almost none of whom appear to be black.
Furthermore, on its official Head of School and Administration page, none of the headshots of Administrators feature blacks.
Indeed, during the racist routine, Frey appeared to mock the school’s lack of racial diversity when he turned to caveman in blackface, now carrying a large stuffed gorilla, and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, this is as close to racial diversity as we’ll get at St. Matthews.”
The Eagles band member went on: “Jamie Montgomery just back from a Jerry Falwell sensitivity training seminar.” And later: “See how boring money management and stock investment is, people [presumably referring to Mr. Montgomery’s profession]? It’s not nearly as much fun as, like, professional basketball.”
The video uncovered by The Daily Caller indicates that the black face routine elicited no gasps of dismay or disapproving boos. Instead, the school auction simply went on.
Facts like these would surely have elicited condemnation and scorn had the celebrity involved been a conservative like Voight. But an Obama supporter like Hanks? Not so much.
And we suspect more of the same now that a second video has emerged showing Hanks clearly knew the fellow in blackface was working the room that day.
That’s not to suggest that concerned individuals have not come forward in denouncing Hanks’ involvement in the racist comedy routine. Congress of Racial Equality national spokesperson Niger Innis has said President Barack Obama must disassociate himself with Tom Hanks’ involvement in narrating Mr. Obama’s recent campaign movie, The Road We’ve Traveled.
I call upon President Obama, who has Tom Hanks doing the narration to his campaign video, to cease, to remove Mr. Hanks’ voice-over from his video, and end any association or affiliation with Mr. Hanks, Niger Innis said Monday in an interview with The Daily Caller.
It is gross, it’s coarse, and it is shocking that something like this would be done in California. Not Mississippi — in California!
So far, however, the liberal mainstream media has yet to pick up and advance the meme.
Will they? Probably not.
When it comes to heaping scorn on racist incidents involving Obama supporters, the liberal mainstream media’s standard appears to be “blackface for me, but not for thee.”