Meryl Streep Calls Out Trump's Bully Tactics in Powerful Golden Globes Speech

Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep accepts the Cecil B. DeMille Award during the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards show in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., January 8, 2017. Reuters

In her acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille Award, Meryl Streep called out Donald Trump in what was by far the most political moment of the 2017 Golden Globes, and one of the most political moments we've seen from an awards show in recent memory. After highlighting the diversity of Hollywood and the "many, many, many" powerful acting performances of 2016, Streep noted that the most stunning performance she's seen recently was not by an actor. It was Donald Trump's heartless mockery of disabled reporter Serge Kovaleski during a campaign event in November of 2015.

Here's the full transcript of Streep's remarks, which were given a standing ovation.

I’ve lost my voice from screaming in lamentation this weekend. I have lost my mind sometime earlier this year, so I have to read. Thank you, Hollywood Foreign Press. Just to pick up on what Hugh Laurie said, you, and all of us in this room, belong to the most vilified segments in American society right now. Think about it. Hollywood. Foreigners. The Press. Who are we? What is Hollywood, anyway? It’s just a bunch of people from other places. I was born and raised in the public schools of New Jersey. Viola [Davis] was born in a sharecropper’s cabin in South Carolina and came up in Central Falls, Rhode Island. Sarah Paulson was born in Florida and raised by a single mom in Brooklyn. Sarah Jessica Parker was one of sever or eight kids from Ohio. Amy Adams was born in Vicenza, Veneto, Italy. Natalie Portman was born in Jerusalem. Where are their birth certificates? The beautiful Ruth Negga was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, raised in Ireland, and she’s here nominated for playing a small town girl from Virginia. Ryan Gosling, like all the nicest people, is Canadian. Dev Patel was born in Kenya, raised in London, and is here for playing an Indian raised in Tasmania. So Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners, and if we kick them all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.

An actor’s only job is to enter the lives of people that are different from us and let you feel what that feels like. 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, that sank it’s hooks in my heart. It wasn’t because it was good—there was nothing good about it—but it was effective and it did it’s job. 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. 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.

This brings me to the press. We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call them to the carpet for every outrage. That’s why our founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in our constitution. So I only ask the famously well-heeled Hollywood Foreign Press and all of us in our community to join the Committee to Protect Journalists, because we’re going to need them going forward, and they’ll need us to safeguard the truth.

One more thing: Once, when I was standing around on the set one day, whining about something, that we were going to work through supper or the long hours or whatever, Tommy Lee Jones said to me, ‘Isn’t it such a privilege, Meryl, just to be an actor?’ Yeah, it is, and we have to remind each other of the privilege, and the responsibility, of the act of empathy. We should all be very proud of the work Hollywood honors here tonight. As my friend, the dear departed Princess Leia, said to me once: Take your broken heart, make it into art.

Bravo, Meryl.