Meryl Streep’s speech at the Golden Globe awards began with a comprehensive run-down of many of her fellow artists’ hometowns and home countries, then quickly pivoted to a pointed observation:
“Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners,” she said. “If we kick them all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and Mixed Martial Arts – which are not the arts.”
The comment was but one that disparaged president-elect Donald Trump without mentioning him by name. Streep, who was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award at Sunday night’s event, also alluded to reports that Trump mocked a disabled reporter.
“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 are many, many performances this year that did just that,” she said. “There was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good. It was because it did its job. 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 and I still can’t get it out of my head because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life.”
Trump denied he made fun of journalist Serge Kovaleski during a 2015 rally but of course has made “building the wall” a signature rallying cry.
Streep’s speech launched into sharp cultural commentary almost immediately.
“Thank you, Hollywood Foreign Press,” she began. “You and all of us in this room really, belong to the most vilified segments in American society right now: Hollywood, foreigners and the press.”
“Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence,” she continued. “When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose… We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage.”