Meryl Streep delivered a searing speech at the Golden Globes as she received the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award. Having taken to the stage at the Beverly Hilton, the acclaimed actress began by echoing remarks made earlier in the evening by Hugh Laurie, commenting on how the people in the room she was addressing "belong to the most vilified segments in American society right now: Hollywood, foreigners and the press".
Naming some of her fellow nominees and their places of birth – Sarah Jessica Parker (Ohio), Natalie Portman (Jerusalem), Ruth Negga (Addis Ababa), Ryan Gosling (Canada) and Dev Patel (Kenya) – Meryl desribed the film industry as "crawling with outsiders", adding, "and if you kick them out you'll have nothing to watch but football and MMA – which are not the arts".
Meryl Streep took aim at Donald Trump in her Golden Globes acceptance speech
The 67-year-old then remarked that of all the performances she saw in 2016, the one that stood out was given not by an actor, but by President-elect Donald Trump, citing the moment he mocked investigative reporter Serge F Kovaleski by impersonating his physical handicap.
"There was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hook in my heart not because it was good. It was - there was nothing good about it - but it was effective and it did its job," she said.
"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, and 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 actress said Donald Trump's actions had legitimised bullying
In front of a visibly-stunned room, Meryl stated that the 70-year-old politician's actions had legitimised bullying. "This instinct to humiliate when it's modelled 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," she said.
"Disrespect invites disrespect, violence invites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others we all lose."
The star went on to appeal to those watching to support the Committee to Protect Journalists and to uphold the press in its duty to hold the powerful accountable. She also appealed to her fellow actors to respect the "privilege and responsibility of the act of empathy". Meryl concluded her speech with a poignant quote from her late friend Carrie Fisher: "Take your broken heart, make it into art."