Fact Check: Tom Hanks, Taylor Swift Did NOT Boycott Oscars Over 'Woke' Policies

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson
Fact Check: Tom Hanks, Taylor Swift Did NOT Boycott Oscars Over 'Woke' Policies Clickbait

Did celebrity actor Tom Hanks and singer Taylor Swift boycott the Oscars over its supposedly "woke" policies, and assert that "We stand for true talent"? No, that's not true: This is a clickbait story with no proof to support its claim. Although Hanks did not attend the 2024 Oscars, agency photos prove that he was at an earlier event run by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which present the Oscars. Swift finished the last of six concerts in Singapore on the eve of the 2024 Oscars, and, the Oscars executive producer made clear, as a result was not expected to attend. Google searches shows that Hanks and Swift never publicly said that "We stand for true talent" or declined to come to the Oscars over any policies.

The claim about Hanks and Swift appeared in a post (archived here) on the Facebook page Sense on March 25, 2024. The post's first comment contains a link to an article on republikalajm.com (archived here) with the same headline featured in the post's caption:

Tom Hanks and Taylor Swift Boycott Oscars Over 'Woke' Policies: 'We Stand for True Talent
Check the 1st comment👇

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:


(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Fri Mar 29 15:16:39 2024 UTC)

This article's headline is classic clickbait: It capitalizes on the names of two A-List celebrities and a big entertainment event to draw an audience, with the polarizing term "woke" sprinkled on for some extra spice. The article itself provides no proof to back up the headline's claim.

The Facebook page that posted this article features a mixture of random curiosities and tabloid gossip. The first comment of each of its posts leads to republikalajm.com, the site that posted the Hanks and Swift article. (Republikalajm means Republic News in Albanian, according to Google Translate.) Page managers commonly avoid placing links in the body of a post in the belief that this will reduce a post's audience engagement.

Google searches

Internet searches on the claim did not produce any results from reliable sources, although did point to what appears to be the original source of the claim -- a March 24, 2024, article on another WordPress website, fadnews24.com, that also offers no facts to support the claim.

A Google search for the quote in the headline -- "We Stand for True Talent" -- led to no relevant results for either Hanks (archived here) or Swift (archived here). A Google search (pictured below) for a quote the article attributes to Hanks returned no results (archived here):


(Source: Google screenshot taken on Fri Mar 29 19:31:26 2024 UTC)

The 96th Academy Awards were held on March 10, 2024. Hanks did not attend the ceremony, but did attend the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' 14th Annual Governors Awards with his wife, Rita Wilson, on January 9, 2024. Red-carpet photos of the couple posed in front of an arched backdrop emblazoned with the name "Oscars" can be found on the news agency Getty Images' website.

The Governors Awards used to be part of the Academy Awards' "Oscars Night" show but are now celebrated independently on a different night at the same venue, the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles. On the oscars.org website, the Governors Awards are explained:

The Governors Awards is an annual event celebrating awards conferred by the Academy's Board of Governors - the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and the Honorary Award. Recipients are announced each summer and honored at a dinner gala. Highlights from the event are incorporated into the year's Academy Awards show.

Lead Stories contacted the PR firm working with Hanks about the claim on Facebook. We will update this fact check as appropriate if we receive a reply.

Swift's reason for not attending the Oscars was plain: On March 9, 2024, she had concluded a series of concerts in Singapore, which would have meant a flight of roughly 16 hours to Los Angeles, according to airline search results.

On March 10, 2024, the day of the Oscars, Swift posted on Instagram:

We got to play 6 shows in Singapore for the most wonderful crowds - just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who traveled and put so much effort into being at our shows. What an unforgettable way to end this leg of the tour!! See you in May when we get back to the Eras Tour!! In the meantime I've got an album to release... 🤍✍️


(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Fri Mar 29 20:51:08 2024 UTC)

Nothing suggests that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was at variance with Swift over her absence at the Oscars. In a March 6, 2024, IndieWire article, the executive producer of the 96th Oscars, Katy Mullan, made no reference to any boycott by Swift. Instead, she emphasized that the celebrity would be welcome:

Listen, we all love Taylor. She's the best cheerleader you could ever possibly have in any audience, whether it's the NFL or an award show. So if she wants to get on a plane and come to the Oscars, then we'll hold a seat for her, 100 per cent.

Additional Lead Stories fact checks of claims about Taylor Swift and Tom Hanks can be found here and here.

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  Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson lives with her family and pets on a small farm in Indiana. She founded a Facebook page and a blog called “Exploiting the Niche” in 2017 to help others learn about manipulative tactics and avoid scams on social media. Since then she has collaborated with journalists in the USA, Canada and Australia and since December 2019 she works as a Social Media Authenticity Analyst at Lead Stories.


Read more about or contact Sarah Thompson

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