Meryl Streep delivered an emotional speech at the Golden Globes in which she criticized Donald Trump for imitating a disabled reporter while campaigning to be president, saying it “gives permission” to others to do the same.
“There was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart,” Streep said as she accepted the Cecil B DeMille award. “Not because it was good, there was nothing good about it, but it was effective and 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 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.
The US president-elect drew widespread opprobrium in November when he derided the New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski – who had disputed Trumps’s claim he saw “thousands” of Muslims in New Jersey celebrate the 9/11 attacks – while flailing and twisting his arms. Kovaleski has arthrogryposis, a congenital condition that affects joint movement.
In front of a visibly stunned room of stars at ceremony renowned for its boisterousness, Streep said Trump’s actions had legitimized bullying.
This instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everyone’s life because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing.
Disrespect invites disrespect, violence invites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others we all lose.
She also called on the press to hold the powerful to account, and said that the freedom of the press needed to be protected now more than ever.
Trump responded to Streep’s speech by describing her as “a Hillary lover”, adding that he was not surprised that he had come under attack from “liberal movie people”.
He told the New York Times that he denied mocking Kovaleski. “I was never mocking anyone. I was calling into question a reporter who had gotten nervous because he had changed his story”, he said. “People keep saying I intended to mock the reporter’s disability, as if Meryl Streep and others could read my mind, and I did no such thing.”
Early on Monday morning, the president-elect tweeted that Streep was “one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood”, and a “Hillary flunky who lost big”.
Streep was not the only star to address Trump. Viola Davis, who won best supporting actress for her performance in Fences, spoke about the president-elect backstage and said his win was a reflection of America.
I think that America in and of itself has been an affirmation, but I think that we’ve fallen short a lot because there is no way that we can have anyone in office that is not an extension of our own belief system,” she said.
So what does that say about us? And I think that if you answer that question I think that says it all.
Hugh Laurie also took on the president-elect and his party in his acceptance speech. Laurie, who won best performance by an actor in a limited TV series for playing arms dealer Richard Roper in The Night Manager, said: “I suppose it’s made more amazing by the fact that I’ll be able to say I won this at the last ever Golden Globes.”
I don’t mean to be gloomy, it’s just that it has the words ‘Hollywood,’ ‘Foreign’ and ‘Press’ in the title. I just don’t know … I also think to some Republicans, even the word ‘association’ is slightly sketchy.
He then told the crowd that he was accepting the award “on behalf of psychopathic billionaires everywhere.”