Chet Hanks, son of the Hollywood actor Tom Hanks, has been criticized for using a “racist” font on his new collection of merchandise which is also controversially called White Boy Summer.
His black and white range of clothes, which include hoodies, T-shirts, shorts, tank tops, leggings, caps and bike shorts, has been called out online for its use of a Gothic-style font that is close to the one used by white nationalists. It’s also similar to the Fraktur font, which was used in Nazi German most prominently on the cover of Hitler’s Mein Kampf book.
“Hmm unfortunately the merch looks aggressively racist,” wrote one commentator on Twitter, while another wrote: “Jesus. When I think of typefaces white people should avoid, anything remotely calligraphic/blackletter looking pops immediately to mind, especially if it’s going to include the word ‘White’.” While on Hanks’s official Instagram a user gesê: “Proud Boys are gonna buy these tf up.” The Proud Boys are a far-right US group and in September fashion line Fred Perry withdrew their polo shirts which had been adopted by them.
Hanks, who raps under the moniker Chet Haze and has acted in the TV shows Shameless and Empire, came up with the term “White Boy Summer” on Friday – a play on the Megan Thee Stallion song from 2019 Hot Girl Summer.
“I just got this feeling man that this summer … it’s about to be a white boy summer," hy het gesê. “Take it how you want, I’m not talking about Trump, Nascar-type white. I’m talking about me, (rappers) Jon B. Jack Harlow-type white boys, you know what I mean? Let me know if you guys can vibe with that, and get ready. ‘Cause I am.’”
In a video posted a few days later, he clarified: “You know what’s not White Boy Summer … is having any ill will or prejudice towards anybody from a different background, ras, walk of life than you.”
Aan Tuesday Hanks announced he was also launching a range of Black Queen Summer merchandise, using the same font. “I want to see some white boys and some black queens wearing each other’s shirts,” he said in a video introducing them.
Hanks, who previously went viral in January of 2020 for using a Jamaican accent at the Golden Globes when his father won the Cecil B DeMille Award, is launching an online acting class The Actors Advantage on Monday.
The Guardian approached him for comment.