During Sunday's Golden Globes, Meryl Streep was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award, recognizing her four decades as one of the film industry's most acclaimed actresses.
Whereas other stars might use their acceptance speech to thank their colleagues or share stories from the set, Streep used hers to emphasize the importance of immigrants, condemn bullying, and call for freedom of the press. Her words send a powerful message about empathy at a crucial time for the country and the world.
"Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners," Streep said, as she shared the varied backgrounds of several of the night's nominees. "If you kick 'em 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 who are different from us and let you feel what that feels like."
Streep went on to describe the "one performance this year that stunned me," which didn't take place on a movie or television screen. Instead, it happened during the presidential campaign.
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. I still can't get it out of my head because it wasn't in a movie. It was real life. And 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," she said. "And when the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose."
Streep also called for those present at the awards to support the Committee to Protect Journalists, to allow the press "to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage." The CPJ responded to the mention on Twitter, thanking Streep for her support.
Streep ended her speech with a tribute to the late actress Carrie Fisher, emphasizing the power of the arts. "As my friend the dear, departed Princess Leia said to me once, 'Take your broken heart, make it into art.' Thank you."
This was one of several powerful speeches at this year's Golden Globes, including one from Black-ish actress Tracee Ellis Ross, who became the first Black woman to win Best Actress in a TV Comedy since 1983.
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