Meryl Streep gets political in her Golden Globes speech

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 08: Actress Meryl Streep, recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille Award, poses in the press room during the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 8, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Meryl Streep.

During a speech at the Golden Globes, Meryl Streep railed against President-elect Donald Trump (without using his name) for “bullying” foreigners, the press, and the disabled.

Streep was being honored as the Cecil B. DeMille Award recipient for “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment” when she made the comments, noting first that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association belonged to “the most vilified segment in American society right now.”

“Think about it: Hollywood, foreigners, and the press,” Streep said, to laughter and applause.


However, Streep’s speech quickly turned serious.

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“But who are we, and what is Hollywood anyway? It’s just a bunch of people from a different places anyway,” she continued, listing several actors and actresses — including Amy Adams and Natalie Portman, born in Italy and Israel, respectively — before quipping, “Where are their birth certificates?” Streep was likely referring to Trump’s repeated questioning of President Barack Obama’s birth certificate.

“Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners, and if we kick ‘em all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts,” Streep said, in reference to Trump’s immigration and foreign policies, to applause and cheers.

She also spoke about a moment from the campaign trail, in which Trump appeared to mock a New York Times reporter who had a disability.

“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. . . it kind of broke my heart when I saw it,” Streep said, her voice breaking, “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 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 also offered a vehement defense of freedom of the press, saying that “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.” She also called on those in attendance to support the nonprofit Committee to Protect Journalists, “because we’re going to need them going forward, and they’ll need us to safeguard the truth.”

Streep ended her speech with a quote from her friend, Carrie Fisher, recalling how she once told her, ‘‘Take your broken heart, make it into art.’’

Streep, overcome by emotion, covered her mouth as she walked away from the microphone.

Material from the Associated Press and the Washington Post was used in this report.