Tom Hanks has apologized for invoking Fox News host Bill O’Reilly in a joke he made during a now-controversial blackface skit from 2004.
The video, which surfaced this week, which shows Hanks hosting an annual fundraiser next to a man in black face and an Afro wig, prompting a controversy that has already driven Hanks to call the incident “hideously offensive.”
In an e-mail Tuesday night to the Daily Caller, which first reported on the video, Hanks apologized again, this time for making O’Reilly the butt of the joke.
“I used Bill O’Reilly as the punch line of an uncomfortable joke that was hardly funny and [was] unfair,” Hanks told the conservative news website.
In the video, from a fundraiser at the Pacific Palisades’ St. Matthew’s Parish School, which Hanks’ kids attended, the actor appears next to investment banker James Montgomery, CEO of Montgomery & Company.
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Montgomery is wearing blackface and at one point, Hanks jokes “Ladies and gentlemen, a celebrity in our midst. Who would have thought that Bill O’Reilly would join us?”
O’Reilly, the top-rated host in cable news, is a frequent target of liberal ire given his prominence among conservatives.
O’Reilly, a provocateur himself, told the Caller that he accepted Hanks’ apology and assumed he was just trying to tell a joke – but an inappropriate one at that.