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January 12, 2017 by Speakers' Spotlight

Speak of the Week: Meryl Streep at the Golden Globes

On Sunday night, legendary actress Meryl Streep was honoured at The Golden Globes with the Cecil B. DeMille Award, an award bestowed for outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment.

It would have been fitting, and ordinary, if Streep had proceeded to thank everyone who had supported her during her career — if she had thanked the directors who had cast her in her memorable roles, her fellow actors for inspiring her during her decades in film, if she had thanked God.

But she didn’t do any of that.

Instead, Streep used her time on stage remind her fellow movie stars of the most important role they may ever play – the role of using their art and their platform to protect the values of compassion and empathy, and to hold people in power to truths of fact.

Breaking down the evening’s host – The Hollywood Foreign Press – into its three component words of “Hollywood”; Foreign” and “Press”, Streep drew attention to the fact that “Hollywood” is made up of people from around the world — the very people that the President-Elect’s supporters have vilified, and that “Press” is also on the receiving end of their dislike as well.

While never actually addressing him by name, Streep zeroed in on a disturbing, real-life performance by Donald Trump while he was on the campaign trail, when he openly mocked a disabled reporter. The performance, Streep said, “sank its hooks” in her 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….I still can’t get it out of my head, because it wasn’t in a movie.”

This kind of acting, Streep admonished, “invites disrespect….And when the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.”

She went on to beseech her audience to join her in supporting The Committee to Protect Journalists, to assist them in safeguarding the truth in reporting.

Closing her speech with words from her friend, the late Carrie Fisher, Streep advised those gathered in the ballroom to “take your broken heart, turn it into art.”

For doing just that herself, we chose Meryl Streep at the Golden Globes as our Speak of the Week.