Listen, we all know Meryl Streep is a treasure. She’s arguably the greatest acting talent in the world and still manages to always seem like one of the nicest people on the planet. That’s why it should come as no surprise that her speech while accepting the Cecil B. Demille award at the 2017 Golden Globes was a true highlight of the night.
You probably weren’t expecting it to be such a mic drop moment though, were you? All night, celebrities — and host Jimmy Fallon — were taking easy shots at President-Elect Donald Trump. He might be the only thing that was talked about during the ceremony more than “La La Land.”
However, you can leave it to the divine Miss Streep to keep Hollywood honest about the implications of the incoming presidential administration.
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“There was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good. There was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its 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,” Streep said, referencing Trump’s mocking of Serge Kovaleski, a reporter for the New York Times, who happens to be disabled. “It kind of broke my heart when I saw it. I still can’t get it out of my head because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life.”
She continues, “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. And the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.”
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It was a speech that stunned the assembled crowd of TV and movie stars into silence. On a night that saw a wild opening musical number, a record number of wins for “La La Land” and the ability to get an imaginary movie called “Hidden Fences” trending on Twitter, it was Streep who stood tall. Because she wasn’t being disrespectful and she wasn’t cracking jokes. She was simply speaking honestly and emotionally.
Additionally, the actress spoke to the importance of press in society and demanded that the media remains accountable in the coming years.
“We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage,” she proclaimed. “That’s why our founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in our constitution.”
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In the end, it wasn’t just quite a night for Hollywood, but a further reminder that there’s only one Meryl Streep and we simply don’t deserve her.
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