At the 74th annual Golden Globes ceremony Sunday night, Meryl Streep DRA ’75 won the prestigious Cecil B. DeMille award for lifetime achievement, using the moment to deliver a politicized speech rebuking President-elect Donald Trump.
Streep recalled an instance of mockery on Trump’s campaign trail and highlighted the importance and responsibility of Hollywood and the press in America’s incoming presidential administration. Transcripts of the speech were circulated online later that night.
After thanking the Hollywood Foreign Press, she described Hollywood as “a bunch of people from other places.” Streep then detailed the variety of backgrounds and circumstances her fellow actors and actresses hailed from, insisting that Hollywood is “crawling with outsiders.”
But the bulk of her speech focused on an incident in South Carolina, in which Trump mocked a disabled New York Times reporter who suffers from a chronic condition that impairs his movement. Streep characterized this act of imitation as an effective albeit negative “performance.”
“This instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform … filters down into everybody’s life, because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing,” she said. “When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.”
She concluded her speech by reminding her fellow actors of the “responsibility of the act of empathy,” and invoking the audience to support the protection of journalists.
Trump responded to the incident in a series of tweets early Monday morning. He called Streep “one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood” and said she was a “Hillary flunky who lost big.” Streep campaigned for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
At this year’s ceremony, Streep was also nominated for “Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy” for her role in the film “Florence Foster Jenkins,” marking the 30th Golden Globes award nomination the Yale alumna has received. She has won eight Golden Globe awards: prior to receiving the Cecil B. DeMille award, she took home “Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama” in 2012 for her role as Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady.”
Past recipients of the Cecil B. DeMille award — first awarded to Cecil B. DeMille in 1952 at the 9th annual Golden Globes — include Morgan Freeman, Audrey Hepburn, Frank Sinatra and George Clooney.