Not one to refrain from speaking her mind, Meryl Streep instantly went viral for her thought provoking and poignant speech at the Golden Globes on 8th of January 2017.
Meryl was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for her continuing and outstanding contribution to Hollywood. Whilst being honoured with such a prestigious award, Meryl did not follow the conventional speech of gratitude, in fact, she used her platform to reflect on the current political climate.
Streep made a very powerful point, using her speech as an opportunity to express her solidarity with immigrants, her fellow celebrities and the free press, three groups of people who have been a target of Donald Trump’s abuse over the course of his presidential campaign.
She opened her speech by pointing out that everyone in the room was part of the “most vilified segments of American society right now.” She went on to demonstrate how the many actors and actresses had come from all walks of life, from all over the world, and that to restrict who could get to their position because of where they came from would greatly limit the parameters of the entertainment industry.
Not once did she mention President Trump by name, which served only to heighten his notoriety further, as every member of the audience knew who the subject of Streep’s speech was.
She used one particular example of Trump’s behaviour during his campaigns that really struck her emotionally, when he mocked a reporter who has arthrogryposis, Serge Kovaleski, whilst onstage in November 2015. It is such a perfect example of Trump’s ignorance, as not only does he make fun of someone who has a visible disability, he also undermines the reporter’s intelligence and questions his integrity, by accusing him of backtracking.
This was not the first distasteful comment that Trump had made about the press. He has openly expressed his distrust for the press or individual journalists on multiple occasions during his rallies and on social media. Trump had successfully used this tactic to propel his campaign, encouraging the sentiment amongst the general public that the press cannot be trusted.
Streep condemned Trump’s actions, and reiterated that it is the responsibility of the entire nation, especially the more favoured and privileged in society, to be empathetic to one another. Eloquently put, “disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence.” She added that it is also a necessity to support journalists in order to hold the powerful accountable for their actions.
Unsurprisingly, her speech was an instant hit, and arguably outshone the record breaking award winner La La Land in every news outlet and social media platform. There was an outpour of praise for Streep, because she used her time onstage to shed light on a mentality that had been reluctantly embraced ever since Trump was formally elected into office. She makes it clear that it is unacceptable to bury our heads in the sand. Her speech has called every citizen of America in particular to unite and stand up for what is right, no matter how powerful the people you are standing against are.
It is truly worrying when even Hollywood, renowned for its superficiality, is concerned for the future.