Actress Meryl Streep delivered an emotional speech railing against President-elect Donald Trump — though never mentioning him by name — while accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 74th annual Golden Globes on Sunday.
While on stage she referred to the time Trump imitated a disabled New York Times reporter on the campaign trail, and said that particular, real-life performance broke her heart.
“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 did its job,” Streep said of Trump’s imitation of reporter Serge Kovaleski, who has a congenital condition affecting the joints. “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 out-ranked in privilege, power, and the capacity to fight back,” she continued. “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 in real life.”
“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. Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose,” Streep said.
Streep then called out to the media to hold powerful people accountable.
“We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage. That’s why our founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in our Constitution. So I only ask the famously well-heeled Hollywood foreign press and all of us in our community to join us in supporting the Committee to Protect Journalists, and we’re going to need us going forward and they’ll need us to safeguard the truth.”
She proceeded to mention several actors in the room who were born outside the United States, saying, “Hollywood is crawling with foreigners and if we kick them all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and MMA.”
Streep’s speech ended with a standing ovation — the first of the night, according to reports on Twitter.
During Trump’s presidential campaign, Streep dressed up like the GOP candidate during a Shakespeare in the Park performance — complete with orange foundation and floppy hair. Streep endorsed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign.
— Golden Globe Awards (@goldenglobes) January 9, 2017