A man in his car talking into camera.


Chet Hanks says COVID is ‘just the flu,’ spreads vaccine misinfo

Don't get your public health info from Chet Hanks.


Audra Schroeder

Internet Culture

Posted on Aug 10, 2021   Updated on Aug 11, 2021, 9:43 am CDT

Chet Hanks is certainly fulfilling his white boy summer, apparently by being anti-mask and anti-vax.

Hanks posted to his Instagram stories on Monday, chuffed that he was asked to pull up his mask in a Barnes & Noble. He goes on to recount the conversation with an employee, in which he’s asked if he’s vaccinated. He says yes then, “Sike, bitch!”

He later posted a text-only image: “The vaccine should be a choice not a requirement to perform our basic rights yeah I said it!!!!!”

Hanks’ parents, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, were the first celebs to publicly reveal they had COVID-19 in March 2020. They even donated their blood for vaccine research in April 2020. That apparently had no effect on Chet. He posted another “PSA” on Monday, this time starting off in a more sincere place. Hmm, did someone close to him tell him he’s embarrassing himself?


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Hanks gives the performance of a lifetime halfway through, his faux-sincerity collapsing into rage-filled entitlement and misinfo. He calls COVID “just the flu” 18 months into a pandemic that has proven it’s not just the flu. Those experiencing long COVID would definitely refute that claim.


“Intubated Boy Summer,” says one commenter.

Hanks has more than 500,000 followers on Instagram, many of them young people who agree with his comments. The Delta variant is proving more dangerous for unvaccinated people in their 20s and 30s—and for children.

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*First Published: Aug 10, 2021, 11:11 am CDT