Meryl Streep, the acclaimed actress and outspoken feminist who once infamously declared Harvey Weinstein a “god,” really detests Donald Trump — and that antipathy continues to win her praise among her equally Trump-adverse Hollywood colleagues, including late-night host Stephen Colbert.
In January 2017, Streep announced herself as one of the many leaders of the Trump resistance by using her Golden Globes acceptance speech (video below) as an opportunity to rip the president-elect, who responded by calling her “one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood.” Since then, Streep has taken every opportunity to denounce the president to her peers’ delight.
At the annual Montclair Film Benefit last week, Colbert, who organized and hosted the event, wasted no time time giving Streep opportunities to rip Trump, introducing the actress by reading in mock-Trump voice his “over-rated” tweet. The tweet, said Colbert, was “perhaps the greatest honor she has ever been given,” The Hollywood Reporter notes.
Colbert brought up the president again later in the 2-hour interview, asking, “What’s it like for you to see somebody who is the President of the United States who is the top politician who is indifferent to the idea of empathy? I’m not sure he knows what you mean when you say it.”
Streep responded by saying she was genuinely “scared” of Trump’s “possibility.”
“I’m scared. I’m scared by him, by his possibility,” she said, THR reports. “And I do empathize with him. I can’t imagine what his 3 a.m. is like. There’s a gathering storm — everyone feels it, he feels it. His children are in jeopardy, and I feel that. I think, ‘What if my children were in jeopardy?’ I would do anything — anything — to get them out of trouble. So we should be afraid. That’s what I think.”
She also worked in a shot at Trump over his comment during the campaign about having “the best words.” She said she once considered taking the LSATs because, “I had the best words! I know more … than the generals!”
Streep’s regrettable Weinstein-as-“god” comment came during another famous Golden Globes speech from 2012 in which she praised the since-disgraced producer for promoting left-wing causes. During the height of the Weinstein scandal in 2017, Streep came under fire, including from other actresses, for defending her promotion of Weinstein by claiming that “not everybody knew” about his alleged chronic mistreatment of women:
One thing can be clarified. Not everybody knew. Harvey supported the work fiercely, was exasperating but respectful with me in our working relationship, and with many others with whom he worked professionally. I didn’t know about these other offenses: I did not know about his financial settlements with actresses and colleagues; I did not know about his having meetings in his hotel room, his bathroom, or other inappropriate, coercive acts. And If everybody knew, I don’t believe that all the investigative reporters in the entertainment and the hard news media would have neglected for decades to write about it.
Among those who rebuked the excuse was Jessica Chastain, who tweeted, “I was warned from the beginning. The stories were everywhere. To deny that is to create an [environment] for it to happen again.”
In case you missed Streep’s much-lauded on the left 2017 Golden Globes speech attacking the soon to be sworn-in Trump, below is the video and full transcript (via Vanity Fair):
Please sit down. Thank you. I love you all. You’ll have to forgive me. I lost my voice in screaming and lamentation this week. And I have lost my mind sometime earlier this year, so I have to read. Thank you, Hollywood Foreign Press. Just to pick up on what Hugh Laurie said: You, and all of us in this room, really belong to the most vilified segment of American society right now. Think about it: Hollywood, foreigners, and the press.
But who are we? What is Hollywood, anyway? It’s just a bunch of different places. I was born and raised and educated in the public schools of New Jersey, Viola was born in a sharecroppers cabin in South Carolina, came up in Central Falls, Rhode Island. Sarah Paulson was born in Florida, raised by a single mom in Brooklyn. Amy Adams was born in Vicenzia, Italy, and Natalie Portman was born in Jerusalem. Where are their birth certificates? And the beautiful Ruth Negga was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and was raised . . . 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 playing an Indian raised in Tasmania.
So Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners, and if you kick ’em all out, you’ll have nothing else to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.
They gave me three seconds to say this, so: 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, and there were many, many, many powerful performances that did exactly that: breathtaking, compassionate work. But there was one performances 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, and 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, 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. O.K., go on with it.
O.K., this brings me to the press: We need the principled press, to hold power to account, to call them them on the carpet for every outrage; that’s why our founders enshrine the press and its freedoms in our constitution. So I only asked the famously well-heeled Hollywood Foreign Press and all of us in our community to join me in supporting the Committee to Protect Journalists, because we’re gonna need them going forward, and they’ll need us to safeguard the truth.
One more thing. Once, when I was standing around on the set one day whining about something—we were going to work through supper, or the long hours or whatever, Tommy Lee Jones said to me, “Isn’t it such a privilege, Meryl, just to be an actor?” Yeah, it is. And we have to remind each other of the privilege and the responsibility of the act of empathy. We should all be very proud of the work Hollywood honors here tonight.
As my friend, the dear departed Princess Leia, said to me once, take your broken heart, make it into art. Thank you.