Meryl Streep attacks Donald Trump in powerful Golden Globes speech

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Kayleigh Dray
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The Golden Globes was, as ever, a glittering extravaganza of gorgeous gowns, twinkling trophies, and tearful acceptance speeches.

However Meryl Streep, in a bid to remind us what’s all really important, decided to use her own time on the podium to turn attention away from herself and towards Donald Trump.

Standing in front of her star-studded audience, which included the likes of Emma Stone, Natalie Portman, and Ryan Gosling, Streep said: “Please sit down. Thank you, I love you all… but who are we, and what is Hollywood anyway?”

The 67-year-old continued: “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.”

Streep was, of course, referencing the moment that the Republican candidate had mocked disabled New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski in 2015.

Speaking about Trump’s cruelty, without ever using his name, she continued: “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 modelled 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.”

Streep didn’t stop there; the celebrated actor went on to explain why we need to defend our free press – and called upon those in the spotlight to join her in protecting journalists during Trump’s presidency.

“We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call him on the carpet for every outrage,” she said. “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.”

The audience cheered when Streep began to review the background of her colleagues, pointing out that Amy Adams was born in Italy, Natalie Portman in Jerusalem, Ruth Negga in Ethopia, Dev Patel in Kenya, and Ryan Gosling in Canada.

“Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners,” she said.

“And if we kick them all out you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.”

Trump, speaking in a brief telephone interview with the New York Times, said he had not seen Streep’s speech.

However he added that he was “not surprised” that he had come under attack from “liberal movie people.”

The Globes were the last high-profile Hollywood event before Trump’s inauguration on 20 January. And, despite the fact that so many famous faces have slammed everything he stands for, Trump has said that he is confident many of them will attend his swearing-in.

“We are going to have an unbelievable, perhaps record-setting turnout for the inauguration, and there will be plenty of movie and entertainment stars,” he said. “All the dress shops are sold out in Washington. It’s hard to find a great dress for this inauguration.”


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.