The entertainment world is still reeling from the announcement that iconic actor Bruce Willis is retiring from films due to a diagnosis of aphasia, a form of dementia that affects a person’s cognitive faculties and ability to communicate and comprehend. Social media, as you might expect, had much to say about Willis, far beyond the well-wishes and positive thoughts from millions of fans. The worldwide discussion would eventually cause Tom Hanks to trend on Twitter because the internet is terrible and went off on a wild tangent about Willis’ career.
Twitter, as much as people despise it, is still the first place the world goes to discuss issues and news of the day, and people were ready to chime in on the Bruce Willis revelation. Tom Hanks, however, probably had no idea he would end up being a part of that discussion, but it started with a tweet from a guy named Paul Duane. The Irish filmmaker’s claim to fame, other than directing some small documentaries, is coming up with the idea that became the TV series Secret Diary of a Call Girl. Duane’s Twitter feed is mostly bad takes and silly opinions made to get people responding and tweeting, and his Bruce Willis tweet did just that. He asked if Willis was the biggest star to make the jump from TV to movies, claiming he couldn’t think of anyone bigger, and Twitter took the bait.
The responses to the tweet began as a friendly discussion but quickly descended into a heated debate, because the internet ruins everything. Duane was promptly slapped back to reality by what appears to be half of the internet, who managed to point out that nearly every one of today’s iconic actors got their start on television. That included Tom Hanks and a plethora of A-list actors.
Tom Hanks, Robin Williams, Sally Field, George Clooney, Michael J Fox, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jim Carrey, Morgan Freeman, John Travolta, Johnny Depp, Melissa McCarthy, Denzel Washington, Woody Harrelson.— Kate ☮️&❤️ (@antivanruffles) March 31, 2022
For starters. And this isn't to take away from Bruce Willis. https://t.co/WZ1iyhBsNw
There was no shortage of opinions being posted on the subject. A number of “blue-checks” (aka verified Twitter users) joined the debate. That included Stephie Haynes, an MMA reporter for the website Bloody Elbow. She pointed out that Tom Hanks had some pretty humble TV beginnings, on the ABC sitcom Bosom Buddies, where he and co-star Peter Scolari dressed as women to get a place in a women-only apartment building. Sports media personality Mike Ryan also named Hanks, as did Arrested Development actor David Cross.
Even media pundit Marc Lamont Hill chimed in. His response, however, highlights how social media can take a friendly debate and run it off the rails. He disagreed about Bruce Willis, naming Denzel Washington, George Clooney, and Tom Hanks (among others), but his emphatic “Hell no” comes off as disrespectful to Willis and his career, and insensitive considering his terrible medical diagnosis. Sadly, he wasn’t the only one. In naming others as better or more popular actors, they inadvertently slammed Willis, just as most people were sending out positive vibes.
Tom Hanks has yet to respond to the debate. In fact, his Twitter account, which boasts over 16 million followers, hasn’t been active since 2020. He is keeping his A-list status alive, however, with several current big movie projects. He is playing Col. Tom Parker, the enigmatic manager for Elvis Presley, in the upcoming biopic Elvis.