No, Tom Hanks does not have his famous volleyball, Wilson, in his coronavirus quarantine. The Betoota Advocate, an Australian satire site, posted a photoshopped photo of Hanks with one of his famous film props of all time: Wilson, an anthropomorphized volleyball that kept his character company on a desert island in Castaway.
No, that photo is not real.
It’s photoshopped, and came along with a short, satirical article about Hanks’ hospital stay in Australia. The Betoota Advocate wrote, “However, to keep him company, the thoughtful and overworked staff at the Gold Coast hospital have brought Hanks in a Wilson volleyball to keep him company for the duration of his stay.”
Many reporters and publications have shared this story without actually realizing that it’s fake. As BuzzFeed News noted, this real image was taken of Tom Hanks holding a Wilson volleyball at a 2015 ice hockey game, though the background of a hospital room appears to have been superimposed around him.
You can see the original video below:
The tweet by the Betoota Advocate has since been liked over 30,000 times, with 8,000 retweets.
In the comments for the tweet, it appeared that many people didn’t immediately get the joke, while others did. One person tweeted, “This should be a standard care item.”
Another person tweeted, “Wait so he can’t even be in the same room with his wife who’s also infected?”
Most people seemed to agree that it was a pretty harmless piece of “fake news” amid far more harmful misinformation spreading around the internet, regarding the coronavirus outbreak. One person tweeted, “I think it’s meant to be a little light humoured moment in this time of worry for us all, that’s it, a bit of much needed fun, it’s ok.”
In the meantime, Hanks and his wife, Rita, are in fact in quarantine and have tested positive for coronavirus. That is not fake news. In a statement provided on his Instagram, Hanks confirmed this fact, then clarified what he and his wife would be doing in the immediate future.
“The Medical Officials have protocols that must be followed,” he wrote. “We Hanks’ will be tested, observed, and isolated for as long as public health and safety requires. Not much more to it than a one-day-at-a-time approach, no?”
Hanks’ son, Chet, has since assured people all over the world that his parents seem to be doing alright. “I just got off the phone with them,” Chet said in an Instagram video. “They both are fine. They’re not even that sick. They’re not worried about it. They’re not trippin’ but they’re going through the necessary health precautions obviously.”
In a tweet, Hanks’ other son, Colin, said, “We are so grateful for the outpouring of support from everyone. My parents are receiving excellent care in Australia and doing well (and in good spirits) given the circumstances. Despite the fact I’m in LA and haven’t seen them in over three weeks, we have been in constant contact and am confident that they will make a full recovery.”