Meryl Streep: Was she right, or wrong?

1.5 min read

“Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence, and when the powerful use their position to bully others we all lose.” Instead of speaking about her 40-year history in Hollywood, American actress Meryl Streep has spoken about the political uncertainty Americans (and subsequently the world) face following the success of president-elect Donald Trump.

Streep used her acceptance speech of the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 74th Golden Globes Awards as an opportunity to voice her concerns for the future. She spoke specifically about the arts, as well as the media and immigration, saying to the sweeping audience: “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.” 

The star highlighted the importance of empathy and understanding, emphasising the importance of the press in what seemed to be a coverted quip about Trump: “We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage. That’s why our Founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in our Constitution.”

The American actress used this year's Golden Globes as an opportunity to voice her concerns.

The American actress used this year’s Golden Globes as an opportunity to voice her concerns.

Shortly after the actress delivered her commanding speech last Sunday, various stars and influencers including Ellen DeGeneres, Anna Kendrick, and Laverne Cox praised the 30-time Golden Globes nominee online. “Meryl,” wrote Robert De Niro, in a letter published by People Magazine. “What you said was great. It needed to be said, and you said it beautifully. I have so much respect for you that you did it while the world was celebrating your achievements.”

While Streep received a standing ovation from the audience, Trump, who once described the Florence Foster Jenkins star as “excellent” and “a fine person”, took to Twitter to declare her “one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood”. To which Hollywood legend George Clooney quickly responded by asking: “Aren’t you supposed to be running the country?”

Whether you agree with Streep’s sentiments or not, the burning question is this: Was she right to take this opportunity to speak her mind? And if so, were the 74th Golden Globes Awards an appropriate time to do so? The jury is still out, and it seems that the fine line between what’s right and wrong isn’t quite as clear-cut as one would hope.