Tom Hanks Emerging as Liberal Power Player in Hollywood

Published February 02, 2009

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This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," January 30, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Personal Story" segment tonight: Tom hanks, as you know, is a huge superstar. And people tell me he's a very nice guy, not arrogant, not an entitlement guy. But very quietly, Mr. Hanks has become a left-wing power player in Hollywood.

Shortly after the gay marriage vote, he condemned the Mormon church publicly. Subsequently, he apologized for that. Last fall, he ripped the Bush administration, no unusual thing in Hollywood. But he's also donated big money to Al Franken and other far-left candidates.

Hanks' ideology first came into our zone shortly after 9/11, when he criticized me for asking Hollywood telethon stars to become more aggressive in getting the money to 9/11 families.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM HANKS, ACTOR: I understand that it's November and it's ratings sweeps period and it's really great to try to put together famous people along with some scintilla of scandal, but I just don't see it here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'REILLY: There are no sweeps for cable.

Of course, Mr. Hanks was wrong. Subsequent investigations uncovered that the United Way and the Red Cross were in chaos and the families didn't get the telethon money nearly quick enough.

Joining us now from Los Angeles, conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart, who runs the new blog Big Hollywood on Breitbart.com.

OK. Has Tom — it looks to me that Tom Hanks has taken George Clooney's place as the big-hitter driving a lot of liberal causes. Would that be fair to say?

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ANDREW BREITBART, CONSERVATIVE COMMENTATOR: Absolutely. I would say that Tom Hanks has been doing this for many years. It's just now coming to our notice that he's been running with the far left in Hollywood.

Back in 1998, he gave the maximum amount of money that he could to Bill Clinton's defense fund. This is a man who was against gay marriage, as was Hillary Clinton. So it's strange that he has now come out against Mormons.

O'REILLY: Wait a minute. Wait, wait. Tom Hanks opposed gay marriage? Really?

BREITBART: No, no. Well, the Clintons opposed gay marriage. They did don't ask, don't tell. They did the Defense of Marriage Act. He never raised any concern with that presidency when he gave them the maximum amount of money.

He has also given Barack Obama, who's against gay marriage, a maximum amount of money when he opposes gay marriage. So it's strange that he is not only going after the Mormon church for being against gay marriage, he's actually going against the Mormon church with his series on HBO, which draws a caricature of the Mormon church, which has banned polygamy since 1890.

O'REILLY: This is "Big Love" you're talking about?

BREITBART: Yes.

O'REILLY: He and his wife are producers on that series, right?

BREITBART: Yes. I think Rita Wilson is the leftist who wears the political pants in that operation. They're aligned with the left wing, the very left wing, Lori David in that environmental — in that radical left-wing environmental cause.

So if you start paying attention to Tom Hanks, you realize that he's not the Jimmy Stewart of our age. He's a very nice man. Everyone that I know that knows him says he's a great father. But, let's not pretend that he's something that he's not. He's just like George Clooney. He's a very radical leftist.

O'REILLY: OK. Now, he goes about it though much differently than Sean Penn or these really hateful people. I don't see anything — I didn't like the Mormon thing and he apologized for that. And everybody makes mistakes, so we assume he's sincere in his apology.

But he doesn't go back it in — the most vociferous guy is me. He didn't like what I did in 9/11. He didn't like me holding Clooney and him and these other celebrities — all I asked him was, "Hey, just make a call to the United Way and Red Cross and tell them, you know, get some urgency here. We've got people suffering." You know, it's almost like the economic stimulus bill now. I mean, which they all love, but they wouldn't do that because I'm O'Reilly and they don't like me.

Now, Hanks' career hasn't suffered. George Clooney's career, I think the reason he left the ideological stage, Clooney, was because his career was getting hammered. But Hanks' career is OK.

BREITBART: Well, Hanks is a good man, and he produced the “John Adams” series as well. He does good work. But I'm more worried about a Tom Hanks when we're at war against radical Islam than I am against a caricature like Sean Penn. He's a completely marginalized soul.

Tom Hanks is considered the Jimmy Stewart of his time. And he's supported World War II groups in regards to his "Saving Private Ryan" role. This is a man who's been conspicuously silent against the Nazis of our time.

O'REILLY: All right. It's an interesting point. I'd love to talk to, you know, off the record to Hanks sometime and get his point of view.

Let's sum it up. You believe that his wife, Rita Wilson, is the real passionate, almost like the Lori David with what's his name, Larry David. They're not married anymore. But she really is. So you believe that she's the one that is really involved socially and that he goes along with it?

BREITBART: It's an assumption that I have that is affirmed by a few people that run in that circle.

O'REILLY: All right. You'd like to talk to him, wouldn't you?

BREITBART: More than you could possibly know.

O'REILLY: Yes, because I think it's a good question. You know, he does a lot of good things. A lot of monument money for World War II and this and that. And you're right, we're in a war against these terrorists, and he doesn't seem to step that up. But I don't know.

BREITBART: Well, maybe now that his president is in charge, maybe he'll get behind the troops. Maybe he'll get behind this war.

O'REILLY: All right. Andrew, thanks very much. We appreciate it.

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