FACT CHECK: Are Mark Zuckerberg, Tom Hanks and John Podesta Directly Related?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims actor Tom Hanks is former Vice President Nelson Rockefeller’s grandson and a cousin of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and former White House Chief of Staff John Podesta.

Verdict: False

Tom Hanks, Mark Zuckerberg and John Podesta are not directly related through the Rockefellers.

Fact Check:

The image in the Facebook post identifies Tom Hanks as Nelson Rockefeller’s grandson, Mark Zuckerberg as late billionaire David Rockefeller’s grandson and former White House Chief of Staff John Podesta as the son of Laurance Rockefeller, oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller’s late grandson. Nelson, David and Laurance Rockefeller were all children of John D. Rockefeller Jr, according to PBS.

“This makes them cousins!” the image says of Tom Hanks, Mark Zuckerberg and John Podesta. “No wonder the world is so evil. We have Pizzagate, Facebook and Hollywood all related.” (RELATED: Did Hillary Clinton Send This 2011 Email To Barack Obama Discussing ‘The Pizza Arrangement’?)

The “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory falsely claimed John Podesta’s leaked emails, which mentioned a Washington, D.C. pizza restaurant owner, showed that he, former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other prominent Democrats ran a child sex trafficking ring out of the restaurant, according to The New York Times.

Tom Hanks, Mark Zuckerberg and John Podesta are not, in fact, directly related through the Rockefellers. Tom Hanks’ father was Amos Mefford Hanks, who died in 1992, according to The Independent, and his mother was Janet Frager who passed away in 2016, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Amos Hanks’ father, Tom Hanks grandfather, died when Amos Hanks was a child, The Independent reported.

Nelson Rockefeller died in 1979 and had five sons: Rodman, Steve, Michael, Nelson and Mark, and two daughters: Ann and Mary, across two marriages, according to Biography.com. None of Nelson Rockefeller’s children’s names were Amos or Janet, meaning he is not Tom Hanks’ grandfather.

Check Your Fact recently debunked the false claim that Laurance Rockefeller is John Podesta’s father. John Podesta is the son of John D. Podesta and Mary K. Podesta, according to Mary K. Podesta’s obituary in the Chicago Sun Times.

Mark Zuckerberg is also not the grandson of David Rockefeller, Check Your Fact previously reported. Mark Zuckerberg’s parents were Edward Zuckerberg and Karen Zuckerberg, whose last name was Kempner before marriage, according to Check Your Fact. None of David Rockefeller’s children had the name Edward or Karen, The Associated Press reported.

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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