The Toy Story 4 publicity tour may have hit a speed bump — and it all kicked off thanks to an interview about a card game.
The film’s stars, Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, sat down for a press junket interview with Global Grind entertainment reporter Xilla Valentine. Inspired by Hanks’s participation in a popular “Black Jeopardy!” skit for Saturday Night Live, Valentine challenged the actors to prove their “black cards” by answering a question about the card game spades.
While Hanks passed with flying colors with his references to seeing guys play whist in Oakland, Calif. — “Tom Hanks always has an invite to the cookout,” raved a commenter — Allen admitted that he wasn’t familiar with spades and joked about feeling left out of the conversation.
Tom Hanks is so cool I tested his knowledge of black culture. pic.twitter.com/aGrJdD1Qjh— The All-Mighty Xilla Valentine (@BlogXilla) June 11, 2019
Valentine later shared a longer interview featuring Hanks and a more participatory Allen, and retweeted a note that the Last Man Standing star “isn’t as grouchy as he comes off.”
Also, very important to watch this whole interview. Tim Allen isn’t as grouchy as he comes off, at least in this particular interview— Travis Gunn (@ItsTravisGunn) June 12, 2019
But Allen — whose political views have made him something of a blue-collar, conservative hero, though he’s clarified that he didn’t vote for Donald Trump — is getting criticized for his demeanor in the clip, which many claim has racial implications.
All I got from this is that it pretty much confirmed that Tim Allen is a major lame— World's greatest Sophisto-Pop fan (@ArcEntel) June 11, 2019
“I feel like both of y’all got Black cards”— www.EricWashington.net (@_EricWashington) June 11, 2019
Tim Allen: pic.twitter.com/29UcAqnzEN
I feel like Tim Allen knew but he didn't want to hurt his appeal with his fan base— Christopher Keelty 🏳️🌈 (@keeltyc) June 12, 2019
Somebody fix Tom a plate.....— Big Sis Hot Sauce ΒΔΚ, Spr 18 (@Resepieces) June 12, 2019
And tell Tim Allen to get off my property.
Tom Hanks = cool ass white neighbor who shows up at the black neighbors birthday party with a 6 pack for the adults, drinks for the kids & will dance off beat when the cha cha slide comes on.— 🇹🇹Black🇭🇹Aziz🇳🇬aNANsi🇯🇲 (@Freeyourmindkid) June 12, 2019
Tim Allen = Shows up & asks if you have a permit for your bounce house. pic.twitter.com/vQmrBb6l0N
It might have all just amounted to some jokes at Allen’s expense. But the actor’s name started trending on Twitter on Wednesday when commenters cited a past interview in which the former Home Improvement star argued for his right to say the n-word.
Writer Scott Weinberg, who called Allen a “stupid f***ing bigot,” shared a screenshot from the comedian’s 2013 interview with the Tampa Bay Times. While that newspaper no longer has the interview online, it was referenced in a Daily Mail article shortly after it came out.
At the time, Allen insisted that the phrase “the n-word” was “worse” than the actual uncensored slur. He also defended celebrity chef Paula Deen for using the slur and expressed confusion over why white people can’t say it.
“I’ve had this argument on stage a million times. I do a movie with Martin Lawrence and pretty soon they’re referring to me, 'hey, my n-----’s up,’” he said. “So I’m the n----- if I’m around you guys but seven feet away, if I said n-----, it’s not right.”
Allen’s comments, which were slammed in 2013, have once again sparked outcry.
“After reading tweets about Tim Allen, I see why Trump is president,” read one comment. “People aren’t saying he’s a racist because he can’t play spades, they’re saying he’s racist because he’s said racist s*** in the past. How dense of a biscuit do you have to be to not understand that?”
This issue from several years ago is the reason why Tim Allen is in hot water, folks. https://t.co/mtTye7zsfg— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) June 12, 2019
Last year, I wrote a piece on Tim Allen for a major publication (after being pitched by then to write said piece) that was rejected for being “too mean” because I talked about his racism and general toolbaggery.— Charlotte Clymer🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) June 12, 2019
Sipping coffee this evening.
Tim Allen isn't racist because he doesn't know how to play spades. He's racist because he uses the N word on the regular...not just in his comedy routine. Yes, there are videos. YouTube it people. He's racist because he's racist.— Bumble🐝✈✒🌻☕ (@Bumble6671) June 12, 2019
In response, Allen’s fans and conservative commenters are coming to his defense and claiming that the negative attention is overblown.
Who roasted who? I said nothing wrong about Tim.— The All-Mighty Xilla Valentine (@BlogXilla) June 12, 2019
Tim Allen is trending right now because he doesn't know how to play the card game spades, which apparently means he is racist. My Lord, these are stupid times.— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) June 12, 2019
Sees Tim Allen trending.— The🐰FOO (@PolitiBunny) June 12, 2019
Nope, not dead.
Nope, he didn’t pull a Weinstein.
He’s being called a racist for not knowing how to play a card game.
Sanity has crippled my ability to make a connection between playing spades, and racial harmony.— Amie Whatserface (@AmieWohrer) June 12, 2019
Allen also courted controversy when he likened being a Republican in Hollywood to “1930s Germany” during a 2017 interview with Jimmy Kimmel. His sitcom, Last Man Standing, was subsequently canceled by ABC, then picked up by Fox.
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