Tom Hanks has shared his thoughts on the ongoing Harvey Weinstein scandal and the #MeToo movement in a revealing new interview.
At the time of writing this article, more than 90 women have accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct: some have asked how, if true, such an abuse of power could have gone on for so many years seemingly hidden, while others have referenced an ‘open secret’. Some, including Angela Lansbury, have suggested that women are sometimes responsible for unwanted sexual advances.
One of the most common responses, though, is this claim that these assaults took place in a “different time” – and that the behaviour was, somehow, more acceptable.
Now, in a thought-provoking new interview, Tom Hanks – who previously admitted he wasn’t surprised by the numerous allegations of sexual assault against Weinstein and other Hollywood stars – has forced himself to look back and address his own behaviour.
“I know that I have participated in crude humour worthy of a baseball locker room on a set,” he explained to the New York Times. “And that’s bad words, and a degree of stupid sexuality in the confines of the circus.”
Hanks continued: “I was asked by Diane Rehm on NPR if I had ever been aware of this type of sexual predatory behaviour. And I said: ‘Well, it’s easy to say no. I mean, I’m oblivious to an awful lot of this. But I’d be a fool to say that it’s never happened on some job I’ve had, because I’m not in every office.’”
It was at this moment that Meryl Streep, being interviewed alongside Hanks, turned to her The Post co-star and informed him: “There shouldn’t be the idea of a locker room. The payload is unloaded on women, because that’s the last group it’s kind of OK to demean, degrade.”
Heeding his colleague’s comments, Hanks took a moment to consider his response when asked if he felt he was “complicit” in the scandal.
“I would claim that I was never knowingly complicit, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t oblivious,” he said.
“You know what’s oddly liberating about this is that we would go off and make movies that have absolutely nothing to do with any of these topics, but journalists bring them up, you know?” he said.
Hanks, referring to his new movie, The Post, which recalls the days leading up to The Washington Post’s decision in 1971 to publish the government’s secret history of the Vietnam War, added: “And this movie – this is what this entire film deals with.
“We made this movie about 1971, but it really is about 2017. There’s no reason not to get involved in what this overpowering discussion is about.”
It is not the first time that Hanks has addressed the #MeToo movement: in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter last year, he mused: “There’s a lot of reasons people do this for a living. Making a movie is a life experience that can create an awful lot of joy. You can meet the person you fall in love with, you can laugh your heads off. That’s the good stuff. The bad stuff can happen on a movie as well. There are some people who go into this business because they get off on having power. And the times they feel the most powerful, which is why they went into the business, are when they are hitting on somebody who’s underneath them, [and] I don’t necessarily mean completely sexually.
“There are predators absolutely everywhere.”
However, Hanks also said that he believes the industry is capable of turning things around. “Somebody said, ‘Is it too late to change things?’ No, it’s never too late. It’s never too late to learn new behaviours. And that’s a responsibility of anybody who wants to obey a code of professional ethics.”
Images: Rex Features