Last night at the Golden Globes Award Ceremony conducted by the Hollywood Foreign Press, acclaimed actress Meryl Streep was presented with the Cecile B. Demille Award for for “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment”. Rather than use her acceptance speech to commemorate her lifetime of excellence in the industry, Streep instead used her platform to attack President elect Donald Trump. What infuriated me the most about the speech was that not only did she use the platform she was given to speak out on her political views (which basically have nothing to do with what she was being recognized for) but also because in her speech she presented three fallacious arguments that facts have already proved to be false. In this article we break it down.
1. Correlating Diversity with Illegal Citizenship
Streep began her speech right away by going after Trump:
“Just to pick up on what Hugh Laurie said. (Editor’s Note: Hugh Laurie also took shots at Trump in his acceptance speech) You and all of us in this room, really, belong to the most vilified segments in American society right now. Think about it. Hollywood, foreigners, and the press. But who are we? And, you know, what is Hollywood anyway? It’s just a bunch of people from other places.
I was born and raised and created in the public schools of New Jersey. Viola [Davis] was born in a sharecropper’s cabin in South Carolina, and grew up in Central Falls, Rhode Island. Sarah Paulson was raised by a single mom in Brooklyn. Sarah Jessica Parker was one of seven or eight kids from Ohio. Amy Adams was born in Italy. Natalie Portman was born in Jerusalem. Where are their birth certificates? And the beautiful Ruth Negga was born in Ethiopia, raised in — no, in Ireland, I do believe. And she’s here nominated for playing a small town girl from Virginia. Ryan Gosling, like all the nicest people, is Canadian. And Dev Patel was born in Kenya, raised in London, is here for playing an Indian raised in Tasmania.
Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners. If you kick ’em all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.”
Here we see Streep attempting to draw a comparison between the diversity found in Hollywood and Trump’s policies towards illegal immigrants. She even goes so far as to say, “Where are their birth certificates?” referring to Trump’s questioning of President’s Obama’s citizenship which is a requirement for becoming POTUS as if these actors/actresses are running for office themselves.It was incredibly irresponsible for Streep to make the comparison between diversity and illegal citizenship. It was an emotional appeal that had no logical basis whatsoever. Trump has never once gone after diversity; he merely endeavors to uphold the law in this country–something that any leader should do.
2. Attacking Diversity in Entertainment
Oddly enough after claiming that Trump attacks diversity Streep went on to attack other forms of entertainment such as American football and MMA which millions of Americans enjoy. There are also plenty of “foreigners”in these realms as well. I’m not sure why she had to bring them into the conversation and demean them under her sanctimonious verbiage but its evident that it is Streep who is prejudiced against diversity–not Donald Trump.
3. Claiming that Donald Trump Mocked a Disabled Reporter
This narrative is getting old but truthfully many Americans (Streep included) still hold to the idea that Donald Trump mocked a handicapped reporter during a rally in South Carolina and therefore is not fit to be President.In her monologue she said,
“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. 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. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.”
Donald Trump tweeted this shortly after Meryl Streep’s speech:
The story he’s referring to is when said reporter Serge Kovaleski who while working for the Post supported Trump’s claim that he saw people on rooftops celebrating the destruction of the Twin Towers on 9/11 despite the Washington’s Post effort to discredit Trump. When confronted by a very embarrassed Washinton Post, Kovaleski attempted to backtrack and say that he did not remember the details of what he wrote. Trump in termed mocked his blatant backtracking by waving his arms around frantically and quoting what Koveleski said about not remembering what he wrote. The Post, The Times, and other liberal media outlets attacked Trump in an attempt to cover for their sloppy journalism by saying he mocked Kovaleski’s paralysis of his right hand. This is of course preposterous. Mocking someone for being flustered is nowhere near the same as mocking a disability. Trump used the same gestures when imitating Ted Cruz and Bill Clinton, the latter I saw with my own eyes. Nevertheless thousands of Americans bought into the narrative and discredited Trump for something he didn’t do–and Streep was intent on doing the same.
All in all Streep’s speech was the primary indication why so many Americans feel the way they do towards Hollywood and the arts. Not only did she deform the purpose of an acceptance speech for one of the highest awards given by Hollywood by using it as a political soapbox but her stance was also categorized by false correlations, hypocrisy and overall lapses in logic.It would have been far more honorable for her to graciously accept her award, reflect on her journey of contributing to the industry, and kindly thanking those who made it possible. Instead she decided to embarrass Hollywood and insult millions of Americans in stride causing her to lose some of the very the credibility she was being honored for.
It’s also clear that not all of Hollywood agreed with her stance. Take a look at Vince Vaughn’s and Mel Gibson’s reactions: