Meryl Streep Blasts Trump in Golden Globes Speech, He Calls Her 'Overrated'
"There was one performance this year that stunned me," the 'Suffragette' actress said of the 2016 election.
Celebrated actress Meryl Streep has become part of the increasingly not-so-exclusive club of Hollywood types, politicos and common men and women who've criticized President-elect Donald Trump and lived to face his subsequent Twitter wrath.
At Sunday's Golden Globe Awards show, the vocal Hillary Clinton supporter was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award this year and took the opportunity of her acceptance speech to address the 2016 election.
"There was one performance this year that stunned me; it sank its hooks in my heart," the Suffragette star said. "Not because it was good — there was nothing good about it — but it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh, and show their teeth.
Streep's reference appeared to be to the 2015 campaign appearance during which Trump appeared to mock a disabled New York Times reporter by contorting his face and flailing his arms.
“It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it, and I still can’t get it out of my head, because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life," Streep said. "This instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life, because it kinda gives permission for other people to do the same thing."
Streep also implored the "principled press to hold power to account" in reference to Trump and asked her fellow thespians "to remind each other of the privilege and the responsibility of the act of empathy."
True to form, the president-elect hit back at Streep on Twitter by insulting her personally.
"Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood, doesn't know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes," he wrote. "She is a Hillary flunky who lost big."
Trump proceeded to then deny having mocked the reporter's disability and blamed the media for portraying him impartially.
"For the 100th time, I never "mocked" a disabled reporter (would never do that) but simply showed him "groveling" when he totally changed a 16 year old story that he had written in order to make me look bad. Just more very dishonest media!"
Streep closed out her speech with a musing from a friend, the late Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher, the basis of Streep's character in the film Postcards From the Edge.
"As my friend, the dear departed Princess Leia, said to me once, take your broken heart, make it into art," Streep said.
The full text of Streep's speech is below:
Please sit down. Thank you. I love you all. You’ll have to forgive me. I’ve lost my voice in screaming and lamentation this weekend. And I have lost my mind sometime earlier this year, so I have to read.
Thank you, Hollywood Foreign Press. Just to pick up on what Hugh Laurie said: You and all of us in this room really belong to the most vilified segments in American society right now. Think about it: Hollywood, foreigners and the press.
But who are we, and what is Hollywood anyway? It’s just a bunch of people from other places. I was born and raised and educated in the public schools of New Jersey. Viola was born in a sharecropper’s cabin in South Carolina, came up in Central Falls, Rhode Island; Sarah Paulson was born in Florida, raised by a single mom in Brooklyn. Sarah Jessica Parker was one of seven or eight kids in Ohio. Amy Adams was born in Vicenza, Italy. And Natalie Portman was born in Jerusalem. Where are their birth certificates? And the beautiful Ruth Negga was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, raised in London — no, in Ireland I do believe, and she’s here nominated for playing a girl in small-town Virginia.
Ryan Gosling, like all of the nicest people, is Canadian, and Dev Patel was born in Kenya, raised in London, and is here playing an Indian raised in Tasmania. So Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners. And if we kick them all out you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.
They gave me three seconds to say this, so: An actor’s only job is to enter the lives of people who are different from us, and let you feel what that feels like. And there were many, many, many powerful performances this year that did exactly that. Breathtaking, compassionate work.
But there was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good; there was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh, and show their teeth. It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter. Someone he outranked in privilege, power and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it, and I still can’t get it out of my head, because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life. And this instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life, because it kinda gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others we all lose. O.K., go on with it.
O.K., this brings me to the press. We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call him on the carpet for every outrage. That’s why our founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in the Constitution. So I only ask the famously well-heeled Hollywood Foreign Press and all of us in our community to join me in supporting the Committee to Protect Journalists, because we’re gonna need them going forward, and they’ll need us to safeguard the truth.
One more thing: Once, when I was standing around on the set one day, whining about something — you know we were gonna work through supper or the long hours or whatever, Tommy Lee Jones said to me, “Isn’t it such a privilege, Meryl, just to be an actor?” Yeah, it is, and we have to remind each other of the privilege and the responsibility of the act of empathy. We should all be proud of the work Hollywood honors here tonight.
As my friend, the dear departed Princess Leia, said to me once, take your broken heart, make it into art.
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