“When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose,” legendary actress Meryl Streep said Sunday night onstage at the Golden Globes in a passionate speech in which she criticized President-elect Donald Trump. It was a moment that captivated the audience and left Donald Trump less than surprised that he was a target of the Hollywood elite.
Streep was accepting the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Cecil B. Demille Award when she delivered the powerful remarks, despite having a hoarse voice. “You’ll have to forgive me, I’ve lost my voice in screaming in lamentation this weekend, and I have lost my mind sometime earlier this year, so I have to read,” the Hollywood icon told the audience. She then reflected on the role of actors and their art form, saying that the craft is really about building a bridge to understanding the differences among us. “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,” Streep said.
She never mentioned Trump specifically by name, but her following comments were obviously about the president-elect and his conduct during the campaign. “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,” Streep said, referencing a widely scene video clip of Trump speaking at a rally, swinging his arms, imitating Serge Kovaleski, a New York Times reporter who suffers from a disability caused by a congenital joint disorder. Streep described it as a performance that stunned her because of its darkness and because “it was effective and it did its job.” She continued saying, “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 kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing.” Streep, who’s appeared multiple times on the Women in the World stage, then called on the press “to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage.” Watch the complete speech below.
Not surprisingly, Trump fired back both in an interview with The New York Times and in a series of posts on Twitter. “Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood,” he said of the actress who’s been nominated for 19 Academy Awards and won three, “doesn’t know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes.” He then described Streep as a “Hillary flunky who lost big. 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.”
Streep’s speech touched on more issues than Trump and her closing line, in reference to the late Carrie Fisher was particularly poignant. “As my friend, the dear departed Princess Leia said to me once, ‘Take your broken heart. Make it into art,'” she said.
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